Written by Evi Idoghor
In Nigeria, the last few days have been fraught with conflicting emotions. The presidential elections were held, and the people's choice was said to have been thwarted by a candidate who many have said they did not vote for. It took days for the results to be announced, and while the people slept, it was declared that Nigeria had a new president elect. People awoke outraged, sad, hopeless, and helpless, among other emotions. The tensions were so high that some people cut ties with those they used to be friends with or looked up to on social media.
Amid of all of this, most Christians have been praying for God's will to be done. Some have even abandoned religion entirely, wondering what the point is of believing if your prayers aren't going to be answered. As I reflected on the events of the past week, I believe we can all agree that what most people are feeling is fear - fear of the unknown. Nobody knows how things will turn out, or what will happen to the country.
I was in a conversation with someone a few years ago, and he was talking about relocating. “In Nigeria,” he said, “you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.” Laughing, I replied, “where in this world do you know what will happen tomorrow?”
As Christ followers, our hope is not in whoever is in "power" or the control that we can have on our reality - our hope is in Christ. I've shared personal stories about how I wanted something to go one way and it ended up going the other way. Those situations, while disappointing, made me realize that God sees things differently than we do. Allow me to tell you a biblical story. The nation of Israel was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. These people were terrified of this king because he not only deposed their king, but he also stole the articles of worship from the Lord's temple. They had no idea what else he had up his sleeve for someone so daring - as such, they began to pray to God. Many prophets appeared, each prophesying something different.
Then God said in Jeremiah 27:5-7, “I have made the earth, the man, and the beast that are on the ground, by my great power, and by my outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to me. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son’s son until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them.”
So, in Jeremiah 29, he told them to relax, pray for the welfare of the land, and pray for peace. Take spouses, plant crops, and start a life for themselves. We don't know what God's will is, but we know that because God isn't limited by the actions of men and he rules over the nations, his counsel will stand.
If this current president elect ends up becoming our president, Christians are obligated to pray for their leaders, according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Romans 13:1-7 instructs us to submit to the ruling authority, and 1 Peter 2:17 instructs us to honor. We have been called as Christ followers to uphold these virtues regardless of who is in power.
God, our father, sends rain on both the just and the unjust. He makes the sun to shine on all of us. We cannot choose when or how we apply God's word; if we are Christians, God's word stands in every circumstance, favorable or unfavorable.
Let us also remember that this life is not all there is; sometimes we act as if it is our permanent home. In 2 Corinthians 4:17-19, the Bible encourages us to fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen, because all of these will pass away soon. The birth of Jesus sparked a political uprising, with the Herod at the time ordering a massacre of baby boys aged zero to two because his position was threatened by a baby. Yet, even as an adult, Jesus spoke of a kingdom that was not of this world. If his kingdom was of this world, all would have loved him.
As Christians, now is the time to show the world that we are a united front, just as Jesus, the Father and the Spirit are one. There is no point in fighting, exchanging words, or severing relationships. Because of what, exactly? And as children of the Most High? This is not suitable for us.
No matter how the pendulum swings, God still rules over all the nations, and his word still stands. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
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