We’re praying for our university student brothers and sisters in South Africa at this time as they’ve been taking a stand for an important cause that will shape our country’s history. Its not just about fees. They’ve been protesting the injustice that flows from poor governance: money managed wastefully, or worse, resources filtered away to enrich a few through corruption; but there’s no money to invest into crucial education for the leaders of the future. There’s frustration with the powerful putting themselves first rather than serving those who entrusted them with power. There’s a cry for good leadership; for God’s type of leaders.
There are times when Christians are called to take a stand – to follow the conviction of conscience and to push against injustice – even if its uncomfortable and the cost is sacrifice. Great men and women of God in times past took a stand against evil, connecting with God at the same time, and so brought the touch of Heaven into their communities.
So we pray for courage, but also for wisdom – to know when to push, and know when to pull back. Some progress was made, so now is probably the time to focus on year end exams, and to consider what can be done again next year.
As I’ve been praying for you and mulling over these things, I have some words of encouragement for all those taking a difficult stand:
- Know that you never stand alone as a child of God – Christ stands with you. Our Lord said He would never leave us nor forsake us, and nothing in our lives is hidden from Him. Even if you feel like you’re “swimming upstream” against a lot of resistance, remember Paul’s words: “At my first defence no one came to my support, everyone deserted me…but the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…and I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.” (2 Tim 4:16-17)
- Let your heart be filled with the confidence that comes from Christ’s righteousness in you. As I’ve been writing recently, we don’t stand before God on the merits of our our own works, rather we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ and so we enjoy the same favor from God that shone on Jesus. If God’s favor relies on how well you’re doing, then you’re in bad shape, and if you think this way then there will be moments when you’ll loose confidence even if your cause is a good one. “Stand firm then…with the breastplate of righteousness in place.” (Eph 6:14)
- History belongs to those who pray. You can change the course of a nation’s history through the power of prayer, and your prayers are heard by God because you’re righteous in Christ. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” James 5:17-18
- The Lord cares about every issue on earth and has solutions to every problem. He cares about university studies, an affordable education and developing the potential of people. He cares about these things more than we do because “the earth is the Lord’s and all who live in it” (Ps 24:1). The Father cares about everything that affects His children and we can tap into His amazing mind for solutions to every problem.
- Seek to understand the real issues and see the true enemy. Ask God to help you see the deeper issues behind every challenge, to see the evil that is at the root of problems. Don’t be satisfied with solutions that treat symptoms but leave the root causes unresolved. And remember, that our battle is never against people, its against the evil the is working in them; so when we take a stand we still love the people involved. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil.” (Eph 6:).
- Expect greater results than your own efforts can achieve, expect the touch of Heaven. Through faith you have access to God’s power and help, and this again is rooted in Christ’s righteousness. “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions…whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle” Heb 11:33-34