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The Courage of Hope

I don’t have a sword, but I have a pen. I sit in my room and from somewhere within I feel broken. I’ve lost hope again, not like I really had that much before. Whatever shred of hope that was left inside of me was torn by the events of the past few days in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole.

I asked God to strengthen me, and the people who have lost unimaginable things in the mayhem that has rocked our country. I asked God to strengthen us all because we live in a country where the leaders know how we roll. They know we will create for ourselves what they don’t give to us. So they figure we will be alright. We will mourn the events for a while and then put them away and move on. We will pick up the torn and shattered pieces of our lives and our communities will continue like nothing happened. The stuff of resilience!

We are a nation that rebuilds from scraps. We file horrible images away in a part of our hearts and brains because there is no other choice. We commit all things to God’s hands. A God whose judgements, as a few think, seem to come late and in some cases, does not come at all. So I asked God to give me strength and show me his word again and let me find hope, because his words are supposed to be the joy and rejoicing of my heart. And he showed me his talk with Nicodemus.

This is how God has chosen to love the world. He sent his son Jesus to save us, and not judge us. We ask ourselves why God has not spoken or condemned all these acts and released his vengeance on the people who murder the innocent and get away scot free. Why God has not judged them. And he told me, the appointed time for judgement is not the now. Jesus came to earth, that every man should be saved. That God’s judgement even hinges on believing the fact that Jesus came to save us. That God’s light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it, because they fear that their evil deeds will be exposed. That for as long as we do not love the truth in this country, we can never be free. No matter how much we long for it.

He reminded me that things were just as bad for the Israelites under the Roman Empire at the time that Jesus came. The people thought the messiah was going to come and cause a revolution. That he would fight for them and win wars, just like the judges did in the Old Testament. They were waiting for another Samson, another Deborah, another Gideon, another Ehud, another Barak, but they were disappointed. Christ came and preached peace and love. And they couldn’t fathom it. They couldn’t understand that they were in a different dispensation, and that God was doing a new thing.

We saw uniformed men shoot at peaceful protesters and we could not understand how the reports claim not one person died. We could not even understand how an army, could fire at it’s own people. How can you fire on people at close range and people escaped with just non-fatal limb wounds? We have heard of stray bullets killing people, without imagining what kind of harm close range shootings can do. So it doesn’t make sense, nor add up. If they fired into the air, how did people end up with back, leg and thigh wounds? If they didn’t fire at all, why did live ammunition bullets show up at the scene and people picked them up? Why were people digging bullets out of their own bodies?

We don’t know the full story, and the details are sketchy. These uniformed people came and did magic, or carried the dead bodies away for sure. We don’t know.

People ask where God is during times of crises and tragedy. But he has said that in this world, we will have trouble, but be of good cheer He has overcome. I wonder if he was not at that gate with those people who were sitting down and singing the national anthem with raised flags and broken voices, till the ground ran with their spilled blood. They believed that their soldiers would not shoot at them, that the flag would offer protection. But they did shoot. and their were casualties. Maybe God was there, and angels were on assignment that day, and that was why we recorded no loss. I do not know.

This I know, God does not abandon his people without hope. He is always listening to the cry of the oppressed. He is ever watching, ever faithful, ever near. He will show himself strong on behalf of his people. And he has promised that one day, his judgement will come. One day he will put an end to all evil.

So we dry our tears and renew hope, and we trust, and we rebuild, and we remold, because it takes courage to hope again that maybe one day, things in our country will change. It took courage for the youth to take a stand against brutality, because they dared to hope.

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