Christians have been praising the Lord for the release of Linda Masarira, the brave campaigner for change who was savagely beaten and spent 80 days in jail, some of it in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, for participating in anti-government protests in Zimbabwe.
But why did the Lord allow it to go that far? Why did He allow her to be treated so? After seeing years of conflict in Africa – including mass killings in Somalia and the Rwandan genocide – it is a question I have often heard.
The answer most offered is this.
‘Rwanda was the work of Satan. The devil glitters like gold. The devil’s ways are seductive to man. But the devil cannot create life. History might have been different if Adam hadn’t blamed Eve for taking the apple in the first place. It wasn’t my fault, it was she whom You created for me. Adam did not ask for forgiveness because it wasn’t his fault.
That’s where everything started to go wrong. God made Adam perfect, in his own image, and gave him freedom of choice, but he made the wrong choice.’ ( Mutoko Madness, pp280)
Humankind is made in God’s image – one of perfection, one with freedom to make the wrong choices, something He never does.
‘The Hutu extremists, fired up on banana gin, weed and mass hysteria, chose to slaughter the nuns and innocents of Nemadire mission. The Somalis, cooked on khat and hatred, chose to kill Hansi and the others. Chaya and his commander Kandaya chose to kill Tom McCarthy, Hesketh and the others. Eric Naylor and Frank Moore chose to kill themselves.’ (Mutoko Madness)
And so it goes. The combatants in Syria’s Aleppo choose to kill women and children in their thousands with horrific barrel bombs and lay the city to waste. Any number of prayers cannot change that choice. May someone please prove me wrong.