By Ashwell Zikhali
The story of Zimbabwe cannot be complete without mentioning the war of liberation; certainly, it will equally not be enough without celebrating the bravery of the gallant sons and daughters, who are now our fathers and mothers, and to some grandfathers and grandmothers, for bearing the responsibility to liberate this country from the settler rule. Today we celebrate their selfless work and sacrificial love for this country. Without their willingness to sacrifice their lives for this country, we would not be celebrating this day to this cause. Bravery is manifest in many ways, but it can be identified by its results. Bravery is not necessarily the absence of fear, but the ability to subdue fear, for fear is part of survival, it helps us eschew danger, on the road that leads to our goals. Their willingness to take the lead and liberate this country is what we celebrate more.
The Bible is awash with heroes of both physical war, and faith. As we celebrate this day, it is important to draw some lessons from one of the Biblical narratives, the story of a hero in the name of Joshua. Joshua, taking over from Moses had only one goal, to finish off the journey of the Israelites into the Promised Land. For Joshua to be counted among the heroes, he needed to obey the commands. For any war strategy, or formation to work, it is vital that the soldiers follow the commands, no matter what. There would be no victory if each soldier decides to do as they please. Keeping commands clear in the head is for your survival and your comrades’.
Joshua in one of the days after executing one of his God-given-commands, he went down to Jericho in preparation for battle against the city. Seeing Jericho as fortified as it was, was despairingly defeating before the war even began; but the command was clear that Joshua had to defeat the city in spite of what seemed impossible in any sensible person. Joshua took a tour, probably spying (which is less likely because he was the commander himself), probably meditating;and probably talking to God about the city, probably strategising on how to defeat Jericho. While busy doing whatever he was doing, he lifted up his eyes and saw a man standing directly in front of him with his sword drawn, and asked if the man was on their side or against them. Joshua 5:14 says, “And he said, Nay; [sic] but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?”
Joshua had a task ahead of him, but he knew he could not do it alone. Joshua was in command, but knew there was higher authority that was above him. Joshua knew when to surrender the command to the higher command. An old adage says, “a good dancer knows when to leave the sage.” Joshua left the stage for the Captain to take over and lead in the best war strategy. The man said, “Am I now come.” This meant that the matter Joshua was about to deal with needed the captain of the host of the Lord. The captain came because it was time for him to appear for a greater task ahead. Celebrating heroes of our time, we much more celebrate the hero, who is the captain of the host of the Lord. The captain of the host of the Lord here must be understood to mean God the son, who appeared in opportune time to save the three Hebrew boys. God has a tendency of showing up to save his people in the opportune time.
As we soldier on with life, we must remember like the great hero Joshua that we need to give Captain Jesus his position to fight for us in a mysterious way. Just like Joshua who was faced with a novel fortification in Jericho, we are faced with difficult times including the novel corona virus that we do not even understand. Just as God mysteriously fought and overcame for Israel, and the walls of Jericho tumbled down, God shall cause the mighty, novel corona virus to tumble down, and be snuffed out of our lives.Joshua fell down his face and asked, “What saith my lord unto his servant?” Many times when assailed by novel situations we tend to rely on our own merit and sweat only to fail in the end. Why not ask, “What saith my Lord unto his servant?”