Christian, arise to steady the ship — Alain Walljee

PHOTO: Stijn Swinnen/Unsplash.com

The Constitutional Court recently upheld our constitutional democracy when it dismissed the IEC’s application to postpone the upcoming Local Government Elections, thus avoiding the complications that such a postponement would have brought to our nation

Scientists have identified a principle called entropy that basically says that anything left unattended will naturally tend toward disorder and chaos. In South Africa, however, we have a history not just of entropy, but of deliberate attempts to create chaos.

Take colonisation, for example, where foreigners came to these shores and displaced the original inhabitants. Take the racial wars between Africans, The Boers and the English. Or the Union government that excluded the Brown, Black and Indian masses of our people. Then came apartheid and the subsequent resistance to oppression. And we are still counting the cost of all that chaos, literally generations later.

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And while we have perfected the art, as most of us do daily in our everyday lives, of looking good on the outside while we suffer, struggle or rot on the inside, the time has come that our nation’s collective inner weakness have begun to show on the outside. The symptoms of our national state of disrepair are visible in our crime stats, social ills and the malignant tumour of racial tension brewing just below the surface of our makeshift “okayness” with the world.

Throw into the mix a global pandemic and global lockdown responses that put our collective and individual convictions and many now-proven false confidence to the test and we get a result that entropy is inadequate to describe. And mind you, this pandemic came at a time when confidence in government on all levels was low and corruption in all sectors were threatening to rob us of our future hope or fortunes.

In the midst of this national chaos the apex court’s insistence on strict constitutional adherence regarding the elections is a welcome ray of light – a steadying of the ship, as it were. And this is exactly what South Africa needs: we need brave people and courageous individuals who will take a stand for what is right even when it is not fashionable to do so.

And as we call on God in this season of uncertainty and chaos, may I remind you that God taught us to measure our faith in the unseen by our actions in what we can see. When John wrote that a man cannot love God who he has not seen if he hates his brother who he can see, he set a true standard for measuring our relationship with the divine by our actions in our physical world.

By the same token, we understand God’s work in the world of people by the things which He had already put in place among us. Like a real boss there are things God will only do through people to whom He has delegated that particular responsibility or authority. Cry as you might to the owner(s) of a global chain of stores, any real change in that organisation will only happen by the hands of the people on different levels that the owner(s) have tasked with running their business.

When you want to fix child abuse, you can pray about it, but until you meaningfully engage parents and would-be parents, you may end up thinking that your prayers are falling on deaf ears. But we must understand that when we pray over social issues, God moves on people who He has called to that space, or on systems and people who have the secular responsibility in that space. It is this context that gives true meaning to the biblical imperative that the powers that be are ordained of God. While God may not have chosen the incumbents and their actions, He does endorse the institution, provided that it is intended for the wellbeing and prosperity of people.

The question of consequence, therefore, is not: where is God in all this chaos? But rather: where are the people that can stop the decline and steady the ship?

I believe that poverty has its masters who live to ensure its subsistence, and crime has its enablers – even in government, even in the home. Racial tension has its authors. Fatherless children have their culprits. There are people whose offices have addresses and whose identities are known who must account for the chaos. We can make the decline stop.

It is time for us Christians to arise and make our presence felt in the world of work and politics. The only way for us to get to seats of power and to influence the state of government, is by actually entering the political race and campaigning with our values and by actually delivering services by harnessing existing processes to make sure the lives of people on the ground are improved.

After praying for better government and righteous leadership, we need to get up off our knees, and get involved in the political process. Others will continue to pray, but others will be moved on by God by those prayers to stand up and get their faces on the ballot in order to see those prayers answered. More often than not, the supernatural will require a platform in the natural upon which to bring its power to bear.

The same can be said of children in South Africa who grow up without fathers. I know and serve the interests of one such community who serve to alleviate that problem. Heartlines is a values-based social and behaviour change organisation and they have conducted extensive research that showed that 65% of children in South Africa grow up without a present, positive male figure in their lives. The research also showed that this alarming reality poses the following significant risks to our children nationwide: perpetrating and becoming victims of violence (both as children and adults), substance abuse, teen pregnancy, poor academic achievement and mental health problems and delinquency.

We need brave people who can help stop the rot. Check out www.heartlines.org.za today and see how you can help steady the ship and become the hero your child, your family, your community and this nation needs.

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