Remember the struggles we once had
Message From The Pentecostal Assemblies Of The West Indies
I am truly thankful to our forefathers who have worked hard to enable all Vincentians to celebrate 39 years of Independence today. It is indeed a milestone worthy of commemoration.
All nations do mark their Independence Day in different forms. The author Greg Solis, in his article ‘How Do other Countries celebrate Their Independence?’ notes that Americans have fireworks, barbecues and parades. On July 1st, Canadians, he noted, celebrate their Independence in a manner that is comparable to the United States. They hold parades, concerts, ceremonies, and fireworks. In Indonesia, on the other hand, the President and his Cabinet pay homage to those who fought for their country’s Independence. They celebrate this day with a flag- raising and lowering ceremony.
It is interesting to note that whatever the country, jubilation and symbols of patriotism are the dominant themes of the day. Citizens are usually decked out in colours representative of their flag. Moreover, recognition is paid to the heroism of nationals who have made significant contributions to the country’s cause. These gestures are commendable. But, have we ever stopped in these moment of elation to consider the true hero of our freedom? How often do we stop to thank God for granting us this freedom?
How many of us do give thanks to God for all that this nation has accomplished over its thirty-nine years of Independence? The tone that pervades at this time often seem to suggest that many of us are truly proud of our country’s achievement. However, we often miss the mark and forget to thank God for all the liberties that we have received.
We should take lessons from the children of Israel. They suffered in their bondage for a period of time but they eventually achieved freedom from their oppressors. They had wandered in the wilderness for years, but finally, they entered into the land that God had promised them.
The scripture tells us in Joshua 4:1
“And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from the people, one man from every tribe, and command them, saying ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.”
The children of Israel were to remember this day, and what God had done for them. The stones they had gathered were to be a reminder of their own experience.
As a nation, we too should never forget the struggles our fathers, mothers, and grandparents went through. It is for this reason that we ought to tell our sons and daughters of the difficulties and discriminations that our ancestors endured. If we neglect to share with the future generation the significance of Independence Day, many may still perceive the day simply as another holiday from work or school.
To the Israelites, the memorial stones were to be the foundation for the sharing of their faith to their children –a continuation of God’s power, provision and sovereignty. In two places in this chapter of Joshua, it is shown that it was the duty of the parents to communicate the word of God to their children. Moreover, they were obliged also to share with their children not only what their struggles had been, but also how God had delivered them. This was to be passed on from generation to generation. In verses 6-7, we are told “ … in the future, when your children ask you, ‘ What do these stones mean?’ Tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the water were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. “And again in Verses 21-23, Joshua tells us, “ In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘ What do these stones mean?’ Tell them, Israel crossed the Jordan on dry land’. For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God, did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. “
I believe just like the children of Israel, our Independence Day should be used also as a teaching moment. We should remember the struggles we once had, and focus on the goodness of God in making us an independent nation. We ought to discuss with our offspring how God helped us through the rough times and brought us to this juncture in our history.
This land is blessed and there must be a reason why it is called Hairouna.