Welcum to Asia
The world contains many thousands of political prisoners but in the last 50 years only one of them, Nelson Mandela, has turned his imprisonment into a tool to create political change and national liberty.
He accomplished this by intelligence, guile, patience, tolerance for his enemies — and a display of such majestic dignity he commanded the sympathy of the world, even the grudging sympathy of the white South Africans from whom he won power.
To a harsh, cold world he brought a strange and refreshing sweetness. News from Africa was almost always bad, just as it is today, but news involving him always carried a grace note of hope. His gift to everyone was an unquenchable optimism, maintained in the face of appalling conditions. That, and quiet good humour.
He was not the innocent social democrat many of us would have liked him to be. He tolerated the Communist connections of colleagues in the African National Congress (ANC) and at certain times saw serious virtue in Communism. Nor was he a Gandhi. He conspired in acts of violent sabotage when he saw no other way. But at the crucial moment, he knew what to do. (Photo: ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images)
Devastation — Typhoon Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippine archipelago on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands before exiting into the South China Sea, packing winds of 235 kilometres per hour that gusted to 275 kph, and a storm surge that caused sea waters to rise 6 metres. It wasn’t until Sunday that the scale of the devastation became clear, with local officials on hardest-hit Leyte Island saying that there may be 10,000 dead in the provincial capital of Tacloban alone. Reports also trickled in from elsewhere on the island, and from neighbouring islands, indicating hundreds, if not thousands of more deaths, though it will be days before the full extent of the storm’s impact can be assessed.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed”(1 Peter 4:12–13, NIV)
It’s one thing to know that you’re going into a challenging season. You get prepared for it. You get mentally ready. But what about the difficulties that we don’t see coming? The unexpected crisis that catches us off-guard? Sometimes, it can seem so overwhelming that it almost knocks the wind right out of us.
The Scripture says that we shouldn’t be surprised by fiery trials. That’s because the forces of darkness would not be fighting against you if they didn’t know that God has something amazing in your future! Sometimes, those unexpected difficulties are just a sign that you’re on the right track. It’s always darkest just before the dawn appears. The enemy always fights the hardest when you are closest to your breakthrough. The key is to stay the course and keep fighting the good fight of faith. Keep your joy and keep declaring God’s Word over your future. God has promised that you will overcome every obstacle. You will defeat every enemy, and right now, I declare that you will fulfill your destiny in Jesus’ name!