The last few days have been difficult for a lot of Nigerians. The #EndSARS protests which started as a spontaneous reaction to police brutality became a wildfire that spread across several cities of the nation. Hoodlums began to take advantage of the protests to wreak havoc, leading to a worrisome security situation. Sadly, on the same day a curfew was declared in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, armed security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters with an unverified number of dead people and several injured. It was indeed a traumatizing experience for many.
Earlier, as the protests had extended and disrupted economic activities in order to force a response from government, one thought on my mind was the fact that individual struggles persisted for many, even if somewhat shaped by the general struggle faced by all. People have financial, emotional, and health challenges and their problems do not go away while they try to grapple with the protests and its impact on them. Our personal challenges do not go away because we face communal issues. Rather, we evolve as we learn to handle the blend of issues we encounter.
Just as the individual challenges of life do not go away because we have a bigger communal problem, so also the expectations of God and His provisions for us as individuals do not change when our problems expand, contract, or become complicated. In fact, the one hope we can securely hold on to in the midst of evolving life conditions is the immutability of God and His Word. God does not change; neither does His Word. Situations we have never previously experienced actually provide us an opportunity to discover new dimensions of God’s grace and see his eternal wisdom at work in our lives.
I have heard, unsurprisingly, that this crisis has rocked the faith of some. We need to remember them in our prayers and ask that God use the situation to reveal Himself to them. I also know that the same crisis has emboldened the faith of others and driven them to depend even more on God. What is important is that we all call to mind the unchangeable nature of God as we work through our current situation – a mix of personal and communal issues creating a blend that is capable of testing our deepest convictions.
Through it all, God remains the same. His Word and his counsel never change. His agenda continues to gradually unfold on the earth, even if impacted in different ways by the actions of human beings. Knowing God always has a plan should help shape our prayers; we should seek to align our desires and requests to his plans and purposes. He will surely do what is right and fair, even if men are not always right and fair. God is the judge; He puts one down and raises up another. Kingdoms and governments may come and go, but the Almighty God remains unmovable.
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain (Hebrews 6:17-19, NIV)