At this writing, it appears that Zimbabweans will vote on June 27, with one choice of candidate. The run-up to this runoff election has been filled with violence and threats – recent reports say that up to 80 people have been killed so far, and thousands displaced or injured. Zimbabwe can use our prayers.
Morgan Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader, had been opposing President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power for 28 years. But in the last few days, he has withdrawn from the race out of concern for his supporters and the danger they would face in trying to vote for him.
Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe has been reduced to poverty by runaway inflation and political corruption. Millions have fled the country to find food and work elsewhere, and more are poised for flight – putting a great burden on neighboring countries. So there's a lot at stake.
Three areas deserve special prayer:
Safety of the people
Death and destruction have already touched many lives. The Bible speaks of finding safety in God, declaring, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Ps. 91:1). This is a wonderful promise that all will have a refuge from danger, no matter which party they are associated with. Within the secret place, there is no hate or fear.
Our prayers can embrace everyone in Love, which includes no element of evil. Love also eliminates the predatory longing to annihilate an opponent.
Freedom from hatred of the West
There is some evidence that Mr. Mugabe believes that Western, i.e., colonial, powers were attempting to manipulate the election's outcome for their own purposes. This fear appears to be driving at least some of his decisions.
But regardless of anyone's perception of others' motives or intents, our prayers can affirm that God, Love, is omnipotent. Love's purpose is only to bless. And one of the synonyms for Love is Principle, so it follows that the same God who is tender and loving also requires lawfulness and honesty. By virtue of its source in Love, divine law isn't the product of a vengeful God, but it does bring forth justice and truth.
Strength to move forward
Recently, Mugabe has hinted that he might be willing to be open to some kind of power sharing arrangement, but at other times he has threatened war if he loses the election. It is at best an unstable time for the people and the nation, but we cannot let fear raise doubts about God's ability and willingness to guide them. The answer to fear is always love. The Bible declares, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18).
To cast out fear successfully will take a commitment to love with a Christly love – a love that sees the spiritual nature in each individual and recognizes it as the reality. It's possible to do this not because we would be turning a blind eye on the human failings of these individuals and their followers, but because we would be following the transforming example of Christ Jesus, the master Christian.
Selfishness, willfulness, and fear cannot resist divine Love's impetus for progress. Mary Baker Eddy thought highly of the voice of the people, writing, "The vox populi, through the providence of God, promotes and impels all true reform; and, at the best time, will redress wrongs and rectify injustice" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 80). With our prayers, we can support the efforts to let that voice speak in Zimbabwe, opening the way for a new era of peace and prosperity for all.