On 9 Aug 2016, we celebrated the 51st year of the Independence of Singapore. We can thank God for capable and honest leaders in many walks of life. From the 2015 rankings based on the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, Singapore is ranked 3rd after Qatar and Luxembourg among the richest nations in the world (Aug 10, 2016, gfmag.com). Our leaders try hard to be ahead of the other nations, to be connected to the world powers and stay ahead of technology for the sake of the future of Singapore. This also puts us under great pressure to keep up.
Around Singapore, we have heard of a bomb blast in Solo, Central Java. Some terrorists have been arrested in Malaysia and Batam. How peaceful will Singapore and the nations in South East Asia be in the near future?
Further away in Africa and the Middle East, three nations Syria, Iraq and South Sudan are ranked the lowest in the Global Peace Index due to ongoing conflict.
Let us look at South Sudan. It gained independence on 9 July 2011. Five years on, there was NO celebration for their 5th year of independence. The new nation was too poor! Money was better spent to cope with severe humanitarian needs and food shortage. Tens of thousands have died in a civil war since December 2013. Two million people have been displaced from their homes and almost five million are in need of emergency food. Prices of goods and services have soared since 2011 and inflation reached almost 300%. Leaders have put power and profit over people and there are massive human rights violation and epic corruption (source: dailymail.uk).
Pray for the persecuted Sudan Christians
Many Christians are among the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by the violence. Their homes, crops, churches, schools and hospitals have been destroyed. The Sudanese government have embarked on its mission to create a “homogenous nation”, in which Islam is the sole religion. In the past 30 years and with current trends, attacks against Christians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states are “systematic” and “widespread” in their nature. They therefore qualify as “ethnic cleansing”. According to the report, the modus operandi in the 1980s and 1990s was to “conquer them, convert them and/or finish them off” (https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2016/07/4548604/).
Pray for Singapore and the surrounding nations
What then is the message for Christians in Singapore and for Christians in impoverished nations, like South Sudan? Do not take for granted the efforts made to keep the nation of Singapore united, peaceful and progressive. Pray for God to protect our nation. Pray for the persecuted Christians. Pray that the potential conflict in the South China Sea will not escalate and lead to war or economic recession.
As Christians our ultimate trust must be in God. The problem with the fragility of nations lies in the fallen human nature. Without the fear of God’s future judgment, men in power do as their evil desires lead them.
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. 8 They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. 9 O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psa 20:6-9 ESV)
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo