Celebration of Hardships: Eskom’s Positive Delivery - 3 May 2019

Louise Gevers

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will rejoice in God my Saviour.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

Considering the countless times Eskom has failed to deliver to our country, we could be forgiven for looking bewildered at the thought of a positive contribution to celebrate. Being forced to struggle and limp along each time power cuts interrupt daily life, and challenge our country’s wellbeing, conjures up the same discouraging scenes of infertility and unproductiveness described in today’s verse.

Yet we, like Habakkuk, can also choose not to focus on the dark situation, and, like him, can choose to say, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD”. God, who created light in the first place, calls us spiritually “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9), which enables us to look at difficult situations differently, with hope in our hearts. Celebration is possible in hard times because we’ve experienced countless times that “… in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)

We celebrate hardships as opportunities to focus on God, and as a reminder to pray daily for the Spirit’s power. Really engaging with the Bible will help us discover the answers that provide wisdom to negotiate these tough times. We need to pray faithfully for our country and its many problems; when we don’t, we end up complaining like the Israelites in the desert, who angered God, because of choosing to grumble, and He saw their grumbling as choosing to reject faith in His goodness and power. (Numbers 11:1)

Paul tells the Philippians to, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation ...” (Philippians 2:14-15). With any trial we endure, we have an opportunity to practise self control as we look to God to help us change our attitudes and bring His grace to our nation. To stop complaining when corruption challenges and overwhelms us with the hardships it causes, and pray, is a positive, inspirational use of the situation. This purifies our hearts and brings us closer to our Father. And we celebrate!

Hope is already emerging out of South Africa’s dark situation. Sharing setbacks unites us in understanding our common need of power and light, and helps us to empathise with those who are still in the dark. We can celebrate growth as we look to the right Source and, when the lights come on reliably again, everyone will joyfully celebrate a true miracle together.

Prayer: Father, in You there is no darkness because darkness is as light to You. We celebrate Your constant goodness in dark times. May the light of Your Spirit shine into our hearts to bless us with wisdom and understanding in every situation, to glorify You in our country. Amen.

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