TEXT: Esther 4:14. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed; and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
his article is inspired by the bitterness the world and the church has suffered from this global pandemic that is occurring after over 100 years of the last universal pandemic. Whether the pandemic is caused or sponsored by some political interest groups is not an issue for me just as I will not bother anyone with it as that is the assignment that has been taken up by the “conspiracy theorist” as they have come to be described; but the spiral effect of the pandemic and its naked desire to erode the doctrinal aspect of the Christian life is of great interest and concern to me; and that is the basis of this article.
The title or topic of this article is a statement that is taken from the bible since my interaction is with Christians and the church as a BODY OF CHRIST (though it can also be used by those who are not members of the household of faith; if they choose to). A TIME AS THIS was the parting word of Mordecai to Esther as she sat and occupied the exalted position in shushan the palace as the queen of the kingdom; and the relevance of the word strikes at the core of what is currently going on globally on account of this pandemic to the Christian faith (while I want to permit myself to zero it down to the church in Nigeria).
While the novel coronavirus has ravaged the world and altered everything in the world in the wake of its aftermath, our attention is hereby being drawn to the very silent spiritual ramifications it has spelt for the church and the people of the Christian faith. Though there is the political and economic angle to the pandemic the world over, but I am inclined to look at the religious or spiritual interplay of it from the political veils of this same pandemic in Nigeria.
To start with, I see the pandemic as God’s silent test to the church in Nigeria and how woefully we have failed the test. Can we imagine what would have happened or been the state of the church in the country if the church had passed or fared very well in the Divine test that was under the belly of this disaster and thrown at us?
The true nations of God are usually known from the way it responds to the challenge that faces it nationally and how the church responds to such national challenges from the point of the spirit. It saddens me to say that the church in Nigeria missed the golden opportunity placed in her face on occasion of this global disaster to position herself as the spiritual guide and voice of the nation. What else did we want God to do for the church in Nigeria at A TIME AS THIS that God has not done; but how well did the church cash in on the opportunity offered to us on a golden platter?
Before a clever reader rushes to the point of making the excuse that the church is not a political institution or arm of any political party, it is also important for us to know that the church ought to have a very loud and strong voice in the political affairs of the nation and her opinion are usually respected and heard (even if it is not heeded, followed or applied); and for this pandemic season, all that the church needed to have done is simply to assuage the fears of our national and political leaders and to spiritually reassure them of the presence of God with the provision of Divine health and safety as there is healing in the name of the Saviour of the world.
In the panic and desperation for answers or solutions that loosed the power of raw fear and apprehension globally, the soothing words and presence of the church leading the charge in the midst and face of the adversity is all that is required; and the truth is that God was waiting to meet with the compelling spiritual utterances and commands of the church over the spiritual peace and national health of the country; but instead of that, the church in Nigeria joined in the national fear and even cowered under the dread of the virus (by shutting her mouth up so that sprinkles from the droplets of the virus will not enter into her mouth and contaminate her); how sad?
Some of us had expected that the church in Nigeria would have seen this virus for what it is and would have seized the spiritual moment to enthrone the universal King of peace and Divine healer in the affairs of the nation. All the church owed the situation in this pandemic season is for the umbrella body of the faith (Christian Association of Nigeria – CAN) in Nigeria to call out its members and assume its spiritual post of “standing in the spiritual gap” for the nation; and not to be silent because the silence of the church has now allowed the devil to seize the initiative to manipulate the situation through human institutions and policies.
The assignment for the church is as easy as having “holy” men lift up their hands to heaven and make proclamations over the nation concerning her health and safety (and that would have been it). It is also as easy as moving (if possible) round the nation (even before the call for the lockdown) to pray over the country and its land mass by faith; starting with our international airports, seaports and visiting states that holds the land borders of the country with other neighboring countries (at this time and in all time of crisis, the government is always ready to welcome help or assistance from any quarter so as to solve any pressing challenge fronting her; and this pandemic presented itself as a formidable foe from which help was needed from all quarters; including religious and spiritual institutions).
Even when the national leaders began to play the usual nasty or dirty politics with the “live scores” (as most of our young men now fondly refer to the coronavirus figures being put out by those concerned), the church could have become even more brazen and bold in her spiritual stands and posturing by calling out the satanic agents in the nation who masquerades around this pandemic and make profits from the crisis.