What Went Wrong?

Recently a national day of prayer was observed in the Bahamas in response to the spate of crime comprising of a high murder rate for 2011. Ministers from all the major denominations, the Seventh-day Adventist Church included, participated in a service at the Transfiguration Baptist Church and other sites throughout the capital, to petition God for the eradication or a reduction in violent crime.
This service attracted the attention of both government and opposition members of parliament, headed by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, and concerned citizens. However, within days after the prayer service, for the first time in the Bahamas, the murder count increased to100 homicides, provoking news media personnel to ask, “What has gone wrong?” This triggered the selection of my caption for this week.

Sincerity in Prayer
I want to believe that the idea of a national day of prayer was most relevant and necessary. In fact, I am of the view that each petitioner sought God sincerely, with a desire to see situations improve locally and nationally. This was really good for religious leaders to come apart and pray as they did. However, the question remains, “What went wrong?”

Unrealistic Expectation
If we expected that crime would end over night, then something went wrong. In fact, I would go back to the appointment of the current commissioner of police. With his appointment, there seemed to be a feeling that now there would be greater control and a return to law and order throughout the nation, but crime increased. Does that make the commissioner a failure? I am not prepared to say yes. In fact, I think he is a brilliant person with a fine cadre of officers; so what went wrong?

Could it be that we are looking for miracles, a quick fix and some magical solution? You might have heard that in the Cayman Islands, five murders were reported since the middle of last week. This is unheard of in that country.

The Bible clearly states that one of the signs that will precede the second coming of Christ is a sense of lawlessness (Matt. 24:12). In Matthew 24, the Bible records numerous signs that will transpire before Jesus comes. We are told of calamites that will happen in places where it is not known to happen, and nations will rise against nations, etc. All of these must take place before Jesus returns. So it would seem that situations would get worse before they get better.

So Do We Do Nothing?

To suggest or even imply that we simply fold our hands and do nothing would be irresponsible. I am in no way suggesting that. Notwithstanding the fulfillment of Mathew 24, we can experience some changes with a sense of a national repentance and a return to God. Ministers of God can do their part, but there is a need for all hands to be on deck. Quite frankly, it would be naïve to expect everyone to be on board, but if more of our citizenry would embrace God whole heartedly and not just when it is convenient, or if they expect pastors to wring God’s hand while persons continue to live without regard for God, His law and His presence, we cannot expect a reversal in social ills. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read, “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The conditions are clearly stated here and must be adhered to for the desired results.

Do Your Part
Accordingly, I call for ongoing prayers and repentance. Additionally, I call for greater cooperation for the police department; a return to community living manifesting a look out for neighbors; neighborhood patrolling, as it not only serves to reduce crime but build community. Also, let’s encourage honesty in little things, which will result in honesty in big things. Parents need to be parents; government must do what is in the best interest of the nation; and yes, the judicial system needs to do its part; and as for the church, we need to keep praying as some times God might say wait, or seek me more sincerely and consistently.

As for The Adventist Community in the Bahamas, Cayman and Turks and Caicos Islands, it is a time of added prayer and reaching out, as we are embarking on a massive crusade to present Jesus Christ to save our country. We need to become more excited, deliberate, and determined to present Him; for He is the only solution. What has gone wrong? I am sure it isn’t God. He has promised to hear, heal and save, but what about you and me? Have we surrendered fully? Are we taking Him for granted? Let’s be instruments of change and let it begin with me.