Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Predictions of Prosperity

My mother was surfing the Internet the other day, looking for news of Cameroon, as only snoopy and worrisome mothers can do. But she stumbled across a very interesting article, published in the Cameroon Tribune two weeks ago.

The article trumpets the publication of a book entitled, The Prophetic Destiny of Cameroon, written by a revivalist/pastor named Bernard Etta, founder of the Redemption Prophetic School of Ministries in Bamenda, Cameroon.

In this book, Rev. Etta prophesies great things in store for Cameroon, a coming time of prosperity. In a “land of promise,” Rev. Etta sees a new generation of “nation builders” arising to transform Cameroon economically, materially, and spiritually: “They will advance when others retreat, believe when others doubt, run when others walk and save lives while others save money … They will not ask what Cameroon can do for them, but what they can do for Cameroon.”

OK, he stole that last line from an American, but it’s still a good quote.

Later, as if stealing from another great American speech, he writes, “I see schools in Cameroon, having students from Europe and America. I see a day when citizens of other countries will seek citizenship in Cameroon. Every mountain shall be brought low and every crooked place made straight and those who have escaped from Cameroon, in search of greener pastures in Europe and America, will return home.”

It sounds inspirational, and it frankly sounds refreshing. Isn’t it exciting to hear the voice of hope in a young, growing, and motivated country? It makes the campaign rhetoric of American politicians sound a little dry and dusty.

I don’t know what kind of revivalist or pastor this Rev. Etta might be, nor what brand of Christianity he practices, but there’s never anything wrong with an attitude of optimism and hope.

Our faith is one of supreme, ultimate hope, a hope that emerges in the midst of the most crushing despair. The Bible is a record of victorious hope, springing up in the unlikeliest of places – in the shadows of the pyramids, in the middle of a wilderness, in a wild-haired prophet’s words, in a manger in a small town, even in the underground tombs of Rome.

Don't misunderstand me -- as a nation, Cameroon is not in the middle of "crushing despair," but there are individuals all around the world who are in the throes of fear and hopelessness. There are pockets of despair everywhere.

And the voice of God to these people in these places is always the same ... "Fear not, for I am your God."

If I take nothing else with me overseas, I pray God, let me take your hope.