For such a time as this

Written by Charles Ekong

08/05/2023

Ever felt discouraged at the state of the world? Nowadays, I seldom watch the news because it feels like most countries are drifting from one predicament to another as a global economic crisis and an ever-escalating war waged by a nuclear superpower rages in the background. Even the optimistic people in my social sphere have given up on our political institutions to change the trajectory of the social chaos many of us are witnessing. Reasons to hope sometimes fade with each news cycle. Occasionally I wistfully envy octogenarians and nonagenarians because they won’t be around in two or three decades which might be a blessing, considering the current trajectory of world events. I’d despair if all we saw encapsulated all there is to the human story, but gladly, it isn’t. Real hope does exist, and experiencing it brings genuine peace irrespective of world affairs [John 14:27]. 

Facing reality can be daunting because, in many situations, confronting life as it is eliminates the option of being passive. Sadly, many would rather bury their heads in the proverbial sand or lose themselves in a bottle, drugs or other vices to avoid facing the vagaries of life. While these machinations may provide temporary, artificial respite, they rarely, if ever, constructively solve our problems. At times, our procrastination exacerbates the situation and worsens our plight. That may leave us feeling hopeless in our sober moments. Looking back at some of my experiences, I realise now, more than ever, how critical it is for me to remember that there is no despair in heaven. God isn’t fretting about the state of the world. He hasn’t been caught unawares by our chaos. On the contrary, God is presently orchestrating the redemption and restoration of His creation.

Jesus said that His disciples are those who do His Father’s will [Matthew 7:21]. Recently, the ‘doing’ aspect of following Jesus is resonating more. The psalmist tells us that the universe belongs to God, but the earth He has given to men [Psalm 115:16]. As C. S. Lewis puts it, God has bestowed us with the dignity of causation on this planet [Psalm 8:6]. Since God has given us dominion on the earth, we can make things happen! That also implies that God requires willing human partners to execute His purposes today. We haven’t seen the manifestation of the last pages of the Bible yet, so we can safely assume God is orchestrating world affairs to culminate in the events revealed to John. Consequently, in every generation, many are called to partner with God to serve His redemption and restoration agenda.

Esther is a great biblical example of someone God purposefully destined to serve His purposes for her generation [Esther 4:14]. It’s tempting to believe such a distinct honour is for special people like Esther. Yet, the calling of every believer is to declare and manifest God’s excellence [1 Peter 2:9]. So like Esther, we’re also purposefully created for our generation. It’s no accident that we’re alive in this period of human history. God prepared in advance what we would do to glorify Him before our birth [Ephesians 2:10]. Furthermore, He has provided what we need and continues to equip us to play our role in ordering the chaos we see, just as He did in the beginning [Genesis 1:2-3]. 

Recently, a phrase in Ephesians 1 I’ve often glossed over caught my attention. In the letter, Paul prayed that the knowledge of God attained through the Spirit of wisdom and revelation would enlighten the heart of believers so they would comprehend the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints (us!) [Ephesians 1:18]. We’re carriers of the divine – vessels of inestimable treasure purchased by the blood of Jesus [2 Corinthians 4:7], and the Holy Spirit is the guarantor of our inheritance [Ephesians 1:14]! So, God has given us all we need for life and godliness for a time like this. Therefore, we can partake in His divine nature as we accomplish His will [2 Peter 1:3-4]. We’re in a better covenant with God than Esther and the Jews [Hebrews 8]. Consequently, we can confidently and legitimately confront the problems of our generation because within each believer is a divine arsenal purposefully designed to obliterate the works of darkness. 

These words will mean little without action – a step of faith. The devil is the ultimate discourager. His cleverly crafted lies will tell us we can’t do anything about the chaos in our world. He will amplify the chaos around us and simultaneously project a duplicitous view of our ability to make a difference – which couldn’t be further from the truth because of what we carry [Romans 8:11]. My charge is a simple one: God made us for greatness. However, we must make every effort to possess the mind of Christ so that we can see reality and boldly confront the evil in our communities as Jesus did during His earthly ministry. He overwhelmed the darkness in His day with His indomitable light (knowledge, discernment, revelation and wisdom) [John 1:5]. 

Last weekend, a few of us hosted a worship event. We were out of our depth because we had never done such a thing, nor did we know much about hosting such an event. In a literal sense, we were unqualified. But through the testimonies of impacted and transformed lives, it’s evident that God was at work and orchestrating the alignment of destinies. It’s exciting to experience God use you. When we shift our focus from everything else to the Great Orchestrator, relinquish control of our lives and allow Him to order our steps [Psalm 37:23], we’ll find peace and destiny along with the realisation that God intentionally created us with a thrilling purpose. Now is your time. Go, become who God destined you to be [Ephesians 1:4].

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