The Sunday Mail
Next week, it will be Zimbabwe’s decision-making time.
God has already been preparing for this crucial election for some time.
He has been levelling out the political field.
As the year 2017 began, the country began to make preparations for the 2018 elections. The two main parties confirmed their Presidential candidates, Mr Robert Mugabe (Zanu-PF) and Mr Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T).
The election season had started, creating anxiety and fear, as is often the case with the country’s tension-filled elections.
International observers were once again reminded that those known to be hostile to Zimbabwe would not be invited.
Things were going to remain the same as in the previous years — economic crisis and isolation from the global family.
Then two things happened: In November 2017, Mr Mugabe resigned as President of Zimbabwe, and in February, Mr Tsvangirai died after battling with cancer.
These were two men who had consistently been on the Zimbabwe ballot papers for nearly two decades.
Their departure created room for two new candidates from the respective parties — President Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zanu-PF) and Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T).
These two men are held in high regard in their respective parties.
Many believe that they could be a split vote that could lead to a run-off, a situation that is not preferable to many.
Elections are about choosing one Presidential candidate.
So, this election is about determining the best out of the good – and that makes it difficult for the electorate.
Christians are praying for the elections to be peaceful, but most importantly, that the will of God prevails and the ideal person suitable to lead Zimbabwe for the next five years is chosen.
They want God to speak so that they can know whom to vote for.
God has to speak, and He will speak!
However, many Christians do not know how to listen to God.
A critical requirement for understanding and experiencing God is clearly knowing when He is speaking.
If a Christian does not know when God is speaking, he or she is in trouble.
One challenge among the Christians is that, as ordinary citizens, they have in mind their preferred candidate, while at the same time, they want God to decide for them.
They could have difficulty in accepting that God has spoken if a different candidate wins.
It is the hope of this contribution to give some guidance to the many Christians in the different churches on how to listen to God when He speaks, and how to operate in His will.
God speaks in different ways. In the past, God spoke through prophets, and still does.
The challenge today is that if you check the Internet, half of them will be prophesying that the winner will be President Mnangagwa, and the other half, Mr Chamisa.
Surely, that does not help us much.
Jesus told us that we will have to depend on the revelation through the Holy Spirit.
And the Holy Spirit works through three main avenues: the Scriptures, prayer and through circumstances.
Here, we are going to focus on hearing God through circumstances that we encounter, so that we know His will in our lives.
Moses’ burning bush encounter
What is an encounter with God?
It is a God-initiated, supernatural and unexpected meeting between man and God. Moses had an encounter at Mt Horeb at the burning bush.
The children of Israel had been in slavery for 400 years. God heard their cry and He made plans to deliver them from Egypt. He arranged to meet Moses at Mt Horeb.
God showed Himself to Moses in the form of a burning bush.
Two things happened: there was a burning bush which kept burning for hours without being consumed — unusual scene. The scene was frightful, causing Moses to cover his face in fear.
Secondly, when Moses’ attention was turned towards the bush, God spoke to Moses. What He said to Moses had nothing to do with the burning bush. God introduced Himself and outlined His purpose, and His will. The fact that God spoke was more important than the burning bush, which was meant to attract Moses’ attention. God’s purpose was to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt, and He was inviting Moses to this assignment. God was very specific. An encounter with God should tell us what is on God’s mind, and what we need to do. This revelation of His purpose becomes our invitation to join Him. When Moses eventually obeyed God, this became the beginning of accomplishing what God had created him for.
Zimbabwe’s first divine encounter — November 2017
November 2017 is a date to be remembered locally and internationally, because Zimbabwe received a divine encounter.
It all began with a very frightening and unusual circumstance.
In November 2017, the Zimbabwe Defense Forces carried out Operation Restore Legacy as an intervention meant to arrest a potentially volatile, social, economic and political situation in the country.
On one late afternoon, a number of military tanks drove into Harare.
The next morning on national television, news was broadcast by a uniformed soldier, giving assurances to the nation. It was scary.
Here is a testimony by George Charamba, Presidential spokesperson, as he was interviewed by a local radio station on April 13, 2018: “I was part of the negotiating team that provided some link between the military and the former President (Mr Mugabe). Operation Restore Legacy, which saw the resignation of former President Mugabe, is an unprecedented miracle which cannot be repeated elsewhere in the world.”
Mr Charamba went on to describe the November 2017 event as a miracle:
“Considering that guns were moving, tanks were moving and the country was going through a delicate phase — elsewhere there would have had bodies and bodies on the streets, which did not happen in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe transition is non-repeatable; that’s why it passes for a miracle.”
What Mr Charamba meant was that if such an event were done outside God’s control, there would have been chaos.
Instead, this one was peaceful and orderly. It was unusual, an act of God.
We can also follow what transpired during and after Operation Restore Legacy from a Pastoral newsletter released by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference published on June 29, 2018.
It read: “The dramatic events of last November 2017 seemed to many Zimbabweans to promise a new Chapter of that history and were greeted by most with immediate and spontaneous rejoicing. Although the appearance of armed men and vehicles on our streets was alarming, people were quickly reassured and many came out onto the streets in support in a joyfully inclusive celebration.
“The transition to a civilian administration was managed effectively by the military, and a new President duly sworn in to general enthusiasm in Zimbabwe and abroad. A great and tangible sense of relief prevailed, a release from fear, and hope for the future. Our politicians, too, were possessed by a new spirit of cooperation. In all this, we have much to thank God for.”
President Mnangagwa, addressing members of the Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi-led Zion Christian Church referred to Operation Restore Legacy as having been God sanctioned.
“This shows that this was not made of flesh. The peaceful transition succeeded because it was led by God.
Nations endorsed the military intervention. The African Union spokesperson said, “Its not a coup according AU rules because we are the ones to declare if someone has made a coup and then apply sanctions. We are neither in a crisis in Zimbabwe nor in an extraordinary situation.”
The most dramatic result of this encounter was the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.
For 18 years, there had been the cry “Mugabe must go!” coming locally from the opposition parties and supported by a number of influential Western nations.
This happened so suddenly and so smoothly.
Most surprising was the fact that it was his own party, Zanu-PF, which had just endorsed him as their presidential candidate.
They recalled him — barely a few months before a crucial election!
This was a windfall indeed for the opposition.
Mr Mugabe’s resignation gave some countries a reason to change their negative policies over Zimbabwe.
Britain led the way to congratulate Zimbabwe.
Then God spoke
God spoke through Britain what He was about to do for Zimbabwe.
What Britain said was what was on God’s mind, God’s purpose for Zimbabwe.
She made promises to Zimbabwe that were in two main areas:
- i) About the restoration of Zimbabwe’s economy: She promised that Britain would assist in reviving the economy, and would invite Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth.
She would help in the efforts to have Zimbabwe’s sovereign debt forgiven, so that Zimbabwe can be given new loans to revive her businesses. She promised to encourage British businesses to come and invest in Zimbabwe. Indeed, a very big British team of potential investors came to Zimbabwe on a fact finding mission after a few weeks.
- ii) Re-engagement: The Zimbabwe land question has been the thorny issue causing the isolation of Zimbabwe by some nations of the world, as spearheaded by Britain. Britain said she was prepared to end the frosty relations that were ruling for the past two decades. To facilitate that, she was prepared to assist in mobilising funds to compensate the white former commercial farmers whose land was acquired by Government. This would close the contentious land question. Britain registered her intention to work with any political party that would credibly win the coming elections.
God’s will for Zimbabwe
It is not about the military intervention, because these things happen in other countries as well. This was just to draw the attention of the world, which it did, creating a reason for nations to change their hearts towards Zimbabwe. The important thing is that God spoke, announcing His will for Zimbabwe, which was to end Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, and end her international isolation. It was also the end of the thorny land question; thus, indicating peace between Zimbabwe and other nations.
This is the beginning of something new in Zimbabwe, a new dispensation. It shows to be the beginning of the fulfillment of a prophecy of 1998 by Cindy Jacobs that said: “I see Zimbabwe like a jewel. She will feed the world. New factories will be built…”
Why November 2017 qualifies to be called an encounter
In the Old Testament, we find four important truths that characterised each incidence to be called an encounter.
- When God spoke, the experience was usually unique to that individual.
For Moses, it was the burning bush. There was no other encounter recorded where God used a burning bush to attract attention. For Zimbabwe, it was the military with tanks and guns on the streets. Mr Geoge Charamba’s testimony of the Operation Restore Legacy supports this, “…This was an unprecedented miracle which cannot be repeated elsewhere in the world. Considering that guns were moving, tanks were moving and the country was going through a delicate phase — elsewhere there would have had bodies and bodies on the streets, which did not happen in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe transition is non-repeatable, that’s why it passes for a miracle.”
- When God spoke, the person was sure that God was speaking. Britain was the one that approached other EU nations to apply economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. To listen to the same country leading the way in reversing all these past decisions and suggesting to help Zimbabwe out of the economic crisis, without having been requested to do so, shows that it can only be God’s doing.
- When God spoke, the person knew what God said. To Zimbabwe, God spoke of the economic recovery as well as her re-engagement with other nations.
The role of President ED Mnangagwa
God used a non-believer, Pharaoh, to confirm Joseph as a new leader in Egypt. Joseph was crowned ruler of Egypt because of his participation in Pharaoh’s encounter with God. Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do”.
Joseph interpreted to Pharaoh what God was going to do and went on to outline what Pharaoh ought to do.
That way, he became part of God’s plan to save the nation. Because of Joseph’s part in this encounter, God gave Pharaoh the revelation that Joseph was the right person to be elected to the high post.
“In as much as God has shown you all his, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word. See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 41:39-40.
From that day, Joseph got busy with the job that he had been given by God to do. He did not waste time dreaming of unrealistic plans, but he immediately focused on deliverables to do with gathering of plenty of food over the next seven years.
Joseph’s mission was to avert a pending economic crisis by coordinating every available resource in Egypt.
That God allowed President Mnangagwa to be part of the November 2017 encounter, and to be the spokesman to implement what was on God’s mind for Zimbabwe, makes him God’s man for the job.
There are some signs that confirm that President Mnangagwa is God’s choice for Presidency in this election:
- i) On his inauguration, Zimbabweans, including opposition parties, foreign nations and organisations, came to congratulate him, showing their acceptance of him.
- ii) Britain embraced him and his Government, well aware it was a Zanu-PF Government which they had been shying away from for years. It was God confirming President Mnangagwa, even through the unexpected vessels.
iii) He began to focus on what was on God’s heart — the recovery of the economy, re-engagement and peace on the land. Part of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference Pastoral letter published in June 2018 highlights this point more clearly: “In the six months since those events, we have seen many reasons for hope.
The Government and its President have created a new space for political activity, setting a new tone of freedom of speech, and promising free, fair, credible and undisputed elections under reformed electoral process and institutions with access for international observers. Government Ministers and Ministries now have targets to which they are accountable.
The anti-corruption rhetoric is now accompanied by legal action against some high-profile figures, and parliamentary committees have began to use their teeth. The President is energetically seeking the foreign investment that he sees as essential to ‘get the economy working again’…….We believe, we hope and we pray, that the coming elections of 30th July 2018 will be such a moment for us all. Genuinely free and fair elections will return us to constitutionality and the ‘will of the people’ will clarify what happened in November 2017.”
God’s will, God’s perspective
God is interested in this election. Before we start searching for God’s will in what we are facing, we need to take up a mental position. Begin by saying in your heart, “Lord, whatever I know to be your will, I will do it. Regardless of the cost and regardless of the adjustment, I commit myself ahead of time to follow your will. Lord, no matter what that will look like, I will do it!” If you cannot say that when you begin to seek God’s will, you do not mean “Thy will be done” (Matt. 6:10). lnstead, you mean “Thy will be done as long as it does not conflict with my will.”
So how do we find out His will?
Whenever we are not sure of what God expects us to do, we need to do like what Jesus would have done. Jesus is our model. The Bible says, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working. I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement, he will show him even greater things than these.” Joh 5:17-20
God is always at work around us.
Jesus would find out what God is doing, so that He would join the Father in what he is doing. If we have known what the Father is doing around us, that is God’s invitation to join Him.
Here, Jesus is saying: “The Father has been working right up until now; Now the Father has me working; I do nothing on my own initiative; I watch to see what the Father is doing; I do what I see the Father doing; The Father loves me; He shows me everything He is doing.”
This model applies to how we should serve God as He accomplishes His purposes.
Watch to see where God is working and join Him!
Jesus came on earth to serve God as a servant.
We, too, need to serve Him as His servants.
A servant is one who tries to find out what his master wants him to do.
God, however, works through His servants to accomplish His purposes.
Flavian Zinyemba is the founder of Christian Organisations Support Ministry, a non-denominational Christian organisation. He can be contacted on [email protected] Telephone 0772 473 352.(Whatsap)