I’ve always read about being ready in and out of season to give a reason for the hope you have in you, and I hope that with this one answer to a dear friend, I was able to show that. We have been exchanging private messages about our native country (he is now based in NYC, but at present is in London…I hope I got that right…) and I have confessed myself to be horribly uninformed in a lot of issues, in the light of the daily struggles I face where I am: struggles which are neither important nor urgent, just impatient and demanding. *sigh*
He told me that one of his memories of me back in college was a bible study in the dorm – which, honestly, I don’t even remember. I had a growing feeling that he sees my insistence on believing that there is still some good to be called out of the Filipino as wishful thinking, and wondered if I will have the words to explain that it is not in the Filipino’s good that I trust in, but in the God who, whether we acknowledge it or not, still holds the Philippines in His hands.
Technically, I didn’t have the words, because when I sat back to read what I wrote to him, I know that I could not have written it from my own paltry resources alone. But Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will give us the words, from all that He has taught us, to answer people who ask.
Here is the answer:
It’s true. God will never violate our free will, not alter the laws of nature.
That’s one reason a lot of people who trust Him have become more proactive, as they believe they are being led to be involved in current events, considering the opportunities God is putting in their lives, in using their influence for change, as much as they can. More and more are running for public office, and setting a standard of integrity that may feel like a little drop, but it is a consistent drop. Media personalities whose integrity is based on a fear of God rather than of what people will think about them do their best to keep their integrity intact in their job, so that even when off-camera, people who see them will see that it’s not put on, but real. And eventually they do run for office, that integrity carrying them through the campaign period that is usually a time for bribery and corruption. They are even willing to begin small: barangay council for some, but those places are where the real people see the realities of their character.
Churches are also becoming proactive in publicly praying for leaders, whether or not they agree with the policies of the leader. In the bible, Paul says to “pray for the king,” meaning the ruling government, knowing that ultimately, God put that person there for a reason. We pray for wisdom for them in deciding matters that they are deliberating on, for them to remember to not be swayed by money but to take seriously the trust of the people whose votes put them in their present positions, for them to not be afraid to stand up for what they know is right, regardless of the wave of corruption tempting them to be selfish and self-serving.
Like that cartoon, regardless of how proud the man is in thinking that his achievements are his genius alone, the truth is God is behind all that goes on. The bible says that God has seen the end from the beginning, and that He works all things together for good. So whatever people, specially those in power, may be doing that seems, in our finite perspective to be “egregiously going against” God’s plan, He has already seen it, and He knows how He will turn it for good, without violating anyone’s free will, nor altering the laws of nature. How He does it is beyond me, but I am just glad that because He is God, He does not have the same limitations that I have, so that is not my problem. My role is to do as I believe He is showing me to do: use the resources He gives me to be a blessing to other people, speak when speech is needed, shut up when speech will harm (specially when what I really wanna do is to kick them where it REALLY hurts, with a baranggay member witnessing everything), and be willing to be part of that process of working things for good in whatever way He says I can be part of it (like simply praying for the president – even if I don’t like him).
I guess where I differ greatly from you is I don’t believe that God is simply sitting back in heaven and watching what goes on until His end-of-the-world alarm clock rings, and He puts an end to everything. I believe He came to intervene, just not in the way we expect: a Jewish carpenter on cris-crossed beams, who rose from the dead 3 days later, was taken to heaven after 40 days, then after 10 days more, He sent a promise: His own Holy Spirit who can somehow live in the hearts of those who submit to Him as their Lord. And this indwelling is not a possession, where the human’s will is subjugated and subdued; but instead, the submitted mind is given greater insight: not just what could be most profitable for me, but what could be best for all involved. And more than this, the power to follow through when the harder option is chosen.
That’s how God is still involved in this world, in what goes on: through people willing to be involved in HIS plan for the world. I have read the bible, and seen the ending, and I have discovered that His plan is NOT the “world peace” that Ms. Congeniality wants. Even Jack Bauer knew that political peace at any cost is not the answer. God’s plan is to give men peace: with Him, with themselves, with others. That was why His intervention was not for a political kingdom, in spite of how ready Israel was to make Jesus king. His intervention is for individual hearts. Because He knows that if the heart of the individual has the assurance of forgiveness for himself, then forgiveness, mercy and graciousness toward others will overflow from that. Jesus described it as “a fountain of living water springing up to eternal life.”
But according to the bible, He will eventually intervene politically. Until then, He intervenes personally, preferring to establish a personal relationship with each of us rather than a world government that sees constituents as mere statistics. We are not statistics to Him. We are people He loved so much that He sent His one and only Son, that if anyone puts his/her faith in what the Son has accomplished on his/her behalf for his/her forgiveness and acceptance before God, he/she will not perish without hope but will have abundant, joyful, unending life, which goes on after the physical body has breathed its last.
This is the God I have put my faith in, and submitted my life to. And this is why I know that He is still involved in what is going on: because He is involving Himself in my life, in Irl’s life, in each o my daughters’ lives, even in my father’s life (classic example of God not violating anyone’s free will, and yet somehow able to work things together for good). That is why I have hope for the Philippines and the Filipinos, because I know who is ultimately holding this nation in His hands. And I am grateful it’s Him!