By Field Ruwe
“God works in mysterious ways,” is a trite so often uttered at the pulpit, and it is the one that precedes my article. I know there are many who will recoil with repulsion at my audacity to evoke God’s name and relate events of the past months to Him. I do so because Zambia is a Christian nation and innumerable devoted men and women find comfort in the word of God. They understand that what happens on earth is God’s incontrovertible decision.
Christians also believe that when a nation is subjected to trials and tribulations, as has been the case with Zambia the past months, God is speaking to His people. In our case, if indeed God is speaking to us, are we listening? What is He saying? Has He been speaking to us and no one has figured out His message?
Perhaps I should address the clergy. Why do we find ourselves in such a predicament? Why would God want us to go back to the ballot box after three years of choosing a leader? Is He turning a tragedy into a blessing? Is He telling us to leave the old Zambia behind and seek a new one? One more question: Does He want us to be part of the world’s glory and not continue to be treated as inferiors by other races?
Yes, God has spoken. He has been speaking to us since Adam and Eve. After they failed Him, He took away the Garden of Eden and gave them the tough world in which we live. It is in this world the lazy and slothful perish. It is in this world those who cannot rule themselves are ruled by others; and those who cannot find prudent rulers are ill-fated and disaster-prone. Indeed, it is in this world Zambians with God given gifts have failed to save the poor child suffering from kwashiorkor. Proverbs 19:15 sums it all up: “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.”
After Adam and Eve, God continued to speak to His people through prophets such as Noah, Moses, Abraham, Job, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David, Nathan, Solomon, Elijah, Isaiah, Ahaz, Manasseh, Jonah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Haggai, and Zechariah. He simply registered His presence, gave orders, and left them to their own devises. They figured out His messages and created nations of the world.
In the modern world God continued to speak to His people indirectly and imperceptibly and urged them to make the world a better place to live in. Those who answered the call include Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, and David Livingstone; inventors Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), Thomas Edison (light bulb), Guglielmo Marconi (Radio telegraphy), Orville and Wilbur Wright (airplane), and Karl Benz (automobile). These men and women got the message. They understood that God wanted them to help themselves. It is out of this understanding that the axiom “God helps those who help themselves” arose.
By the way, “God helps those who help themselves” is not a biblical statement. It is a motivational phrase amplified by American inventor Benjamin Franklin to stimulate the spirit of initiative and self-reliance among the American people. The phrase was coined five hundred years before Christ by Aesop, who wrote, “The gods help them that help themselves.”
The phrase has become the intonation of successful and powerful nations. When God speaks to them, they turn not to Him, but to their mental strength, survival instincts, perseverance, and hope. It is the understanding of the phrase that has made them live together as a race and appreciate the other’s talent. In their societies they elect wise and judicious leaders who support the highly talented, sufficiently knowledgeable, and adequately skilled.
We Zambians, on the other hand, are dependent on Psalm 54:4: “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” With this in mind, we have left everything in God’s hands—our lives, our politics, our destiny. Divided as we are, we have failed to address our concerns for contentment, life satisfaction, success, joy, and desirable quality.
We are a people without direction, carried along at the mercy of others. When God has spoken to us, we have responded with the words “so be it” and gone back to our failing ways. And yet it is written that the almighty God “will render to man according to his works” (Psalms 62:11). This verse pinpoints why we keep failing for it is a verse unseen to us.
On October 28, 2014, when we lost our leader, God spoke to us. He created a massive void and an opportunity for another person to emerge from 14 million inhabitants and lift us from the morass of failure. Because we do not understand His message, we don’t know who He has handpicked. Is it Hakainde Hichilema, Edgar Lungu, Mulenga Sata, Christine Kaseba-Sata, Nevers Mumba, Rupiah Banda, Miles Sampa, Geoffrey Mwamba, or someone unknown to us? And because He treats us like other thoughtful, sagacious, and astute people of the world, he is hoping we will pick His choice.
The problem is that the devil is also at work. As has been the case in the past, the lust for power has come back to haunt us. The devil has wasted no time to thwart God’s message. He has unleashed some of his evil emissaries to join the presidential race and make it difficult for us to elect God’s choice. We are informed some presidential hopefuls are members of a cartel controlled by a mere newspaper proprietor Fred Mmembe, who in the recent past has amassed questionable wealth and failed to pay taxes as required by the law.
Allegedly supported by the Acting President Guy Scott, the cartel has no desire to take the Zambian people to higher heights. Its members are not interested in taking a leaf from advanced societies and identify coherence as a conduit for absolute power. They are intent at hijacking the country for their own gratification. You know who they are. Look at them again; their lust for power is glaring. Their destructive desires are not only offensive to the Zambian people, but to God as well.
All Christians in this country, Catholics, Presbyterians, and Evangelicals, must condemn the cartel with spiritual discernment and urge members of their congregations to avoid voting for such renegades. Preachers must tell the stories of many unscrupulous individuals in the Bible who allowed greed to consume them. Judas Iscariot and his thirty pieces of gold, David’s crave for Bathsheba, Job’s lust for power, Gehazi’s ravenousness for Naaman’s gifts, and Simon’s corrupt efforts to buy the Holy Spirit. They must stress the consequences such people faced.
All dedicated Christians attending the PF convention on November 29, 2014 should avoid conjured candidates. It will be tragic to choose an amoral PF presidential candidate, especially considering the rewards God is offering us far exceed what a member of the cartel can offer. Similarly, Christians in other political parties must ensure they support a candidate who can lift us from the bottom of humanity.
God has spoken. He wants us to put an end to misappropriation of funds, theft, corruption, bribery, venality, graft, for these are the reasons we have failed as a people. He knows that among the aspiring presidential candidates are some with fatal flaws. The mission for these Pharisees in Judas’s skin is to continue plundering our resources. God is giving us an opportunity to weed them out. Remember His words in Galatians 6:8: “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
As you hunt for a successor remember God’s address to the people on the Mount of Sinai. He urged them to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” He has since been urging us to unite as a people. He has said, “Let there be no Bemba, Tonga, Ngoni, Lozi, Kaonde, Lamba…let there be one people called Zambians.” When you get into the booth to cast your vote, think beyond your tribe.
Between now and January 20, 2015, God will keep talking to us because He loves us relentlessly and has ordained us to succeed. He wants us to figure out how to run a successful government. He wants us to rid of tribalism and live as one people like other successful people. He wants us to sort out unemployment, eradicate poverty and disease, open the minds of our children to modern technology, and enjoy a prosperous life. He wants us to build a great nation; a Third World country that climbed to the top. This is the reason He is taking us back to the ballot box. Let us all help ourselves to God’s love by presenting Him with a leader of His choice.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website www.aruwebooks.com. On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.