“Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you,” says God in Isaiah 35:4.
During the war to overthrow Idi Amin, many people lost their lives and property. They thought that God had forgotten them.
Fr John de Bernard, then parish priest of Lweza, conceived the idea of starting prayers at Kiwamirembe, Kajjansi Trading Centre, Entebbe Road, invoking the Virgin Mary as queen of peace, to restore peace in the country. Indeed many Ugandans have since then kept their faith and hope in the victorious God.
The irony in praying for peace
It might, hence, have been ironic for government to station heavily armed army and police officers at St Luke’s Anglican Church Ntinda, Kampala, on August 30, 2018, as several women leaders converged to launch a national prayer platform for peace in the country. Praying for the nation should, otherwise, be a regular exercise by all faithful everywhere and anywhere, especially in times of fear.
When our faith shakes
Fear is quite natural. It can, nevertheless, be injurious and sinful. The cause of our natural fear is that we look at circumstances, and judge by them, rather than by the power of God. Or, like Peter who was granted the opportunity to walk on water, we look at self, rather than at Jesus (Matthew 14:29). Every time we take the eye off Jesus, and fix it upon self, Satan gains advantage over us. Satan’s influence and power often fills us with fear. He misrepresents the character of God. Surely we should realise our natural fear as an evil, and seek a remedy for it.
When fear meets faith
“The antidote of fear is faith,” says Dr Wayne Walter Dyer, American philosopher and motivator. He explains that while fear believes in a negative future, faith believes in a positive future. Martyrs are credited for exhibiting the virtue of faith by enduring persecution and execution with courage, strength, calmness and control.
Draw closer to God
It is important to realise that we shall not find victory and perfection in ourselves, nor in our fellow human beings, because all are flawed. But the nearer we get to God, and the closer we walk with God, the closer we shall get to our true victory. God is known as the Lord of armies (2 Kings 6). He sustains everything by his powerful word. Psalm 23 also appeals to our faith in God’s providence and salvation in all circumstances.
God promises deliverance and happiness that flow from pardon of sin and union with Christ. While in a boat with his disciples, but seemingly asleep, and before calming the devastating storm, Jesus rebuked his disciples: “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). The assurance of His presence should generate confidence, courage, and daring.
Follow Abraham’s example
Ugandans must rise superior to their fears, doubts, and misgivings; and become like Abraham, who expected all God had promised, and stood prepared to part with all God had given. The loving Spirit of God desires to see us happy in God, obedient to God, as the effect of confidence in God. God is, otherwise, grieved when we give way to ungrounded and politically plotted fears.
“If you are worried; pray. Once you are praying, how can you be worried?” says St Padre Pio. We need to ask God to strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, to make strong and fearless the hearts that are frightened. Jesus has given us every reason to trust Him and not be afraid.
“Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).