The future is in our hands
Pastor Dermoth Baptiste
President, SVG Mission of Seventh-day Adventists
Celebration stands at the core of human existence, for which God has given us anniversaries so that we can reflect, take stock of our lives, count our blessings, note our failures and take fresh guards as we individually and collectively consider whether or not we are fulfilling our purpose for living on this earth. As we celebrate our Nation’s 39th year of political independence we have much to thank Almighty God, for it is because of His tender mercies and loving kindness why we still have the breath of life. Therefore, thanksgiving and celebration first belong to our Heavenly Father. No matter what situations we would have been through or circumstances that would have confronted us, He has always been, and will ever be an on-time God who nourishes, sustains and provides for His children.
No doubt, legislators and politicians will use the occasion to highlight policies, programs, plans and promises or lack thereof, which would have contributed to our national development, or stymied our growth. While this is good for our democracy, we must never lose sight of the fact that individuals and families make up our society and as such the task of nation building lies with every one of us, irrespective of political persuasion, religious affiliation or social condition. Therefore, it behooves all of us as vital and valuable contributors to national development to use the occasion for sober reflection and meaningful contemplation in determining whether or not we have contributed in the most productive and positive manner.
The scourge of crime and violence continue to plague us and for which none of us can be satisfied as we witness the loss of lives, coupled with the resultant trauma brought to surviving relatives and the fear that grips many people. The fatalities on our roads have also beckoned us to draw back the curtains and learn from these misadventures. God in His loving kindness always speak to us in blessings bestowed and sometimes, in our best interests, it becomes necessary for Him to speak in blessings withdrawn in order to attract our attention. It is in the midst of tragedy, calamity and crisis that we understand our weakness, appreciate our vulnerability and draw strength from the Divine Source. To all who have suffered losses of loved ones in one form or the other, Jesus is still the healing, compassionate, comforting Savior, who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities and will always walk with us through the valley of grief. Where we cannot trace His steps we can always trust His heart, for He always desires our best interests.
The future of our country is safe only as we inculcate those moral values, practice the Christian traditions, maintain our spiritual moorings and live the principles of faith enunciated by the God of heaven and earth to whom we owe our very existence. Take it or leave it, the survival of our Nation and the perpetuity of our Independence rest in our unswerving obedience to the moral law of God which He thundered from Mt Sinai and coded with His own finger on two tables of stone, intended for all civilizations, past, present and future.
We must confess that we have robbed our children of any sense that their Father is in Heaven and that they are His creation; custom made in His image to bring honor, praise and glory to His matchless name. We have also launched the deadly experiment in raising children without earthly fathers. Having neither a Father in heaven nor a father in the home is an explosive time-bomb that leads to the shattering of lives, broken family structure, festering of lawlessness and the unwanted increase of crime, violence and abuse in our society. Our children are too precious and priceless to be left without such Godly guidance and positive fatherly influence in their lives. It is incumbent on each father to shoulder his responsibility in providing for the needs of his family while leading them daily to the Heavenly Father for divine sustenance and supervision.
Faith in God, good character formation, the blessings of labor, supportive families, personal responsibility and freedom to choose transcend time, culture and ideology. These are universal, sacred values that must resonate in all of us to which we must pass on to the next generation. They are looking to us parents, guardians, leaders, statesmen, mentors, role models, Christians, citizens to see if we will drop the baton or if we will guardedly and faithfully pass it on so as to combat the rising tide of secularism and individualism that we have in our world today. We dare not drop the baton, for they will be disappointed in us; but most of all God will be disappointed in us as well for not fulfilling our divine destiny.
There are those who may consider it a virtue to parade the faults of others, scoff at religion, despise morality and disregard principles. It is important to be reminded that ridicule is a poor substitute for independent thinking and balanced judgement even as unrighteous living is a slippery slope that if not checked, can lead to ruined lives. These are unquestionable essentials that I consider to be the nuts and bolts of Freedom, Liberty and Independence. Where we have fallen short, today we can choose to make a difference for the better and don’t allow the past to define us.
As we celebrate our nation’s 39th anniversary, I encourage you not to put your happiness in other people’s hands for they will certainly drop it. Happiness is to know the Savior for ourselves and develop a long lasting relationship with Him. Therefore, seek first His Kingdom which is predicated on fairness, meekness and righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you. My prayer for all of us as citizens of this beloved Country is for eyes that see the best in others, hearts that forgive the worst of deeds, minds that forget the bad that we’ve done and souls that anchor their faith in the true and living God. On behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I wish the Government, Opposition and each citizen, both at home and in the diaspora a Happy Independence and prosperity in the Year ahead.