All History is Linear
In the Bible, God says of Himself "I am the alpha and the omega!" This
simple statement carries with it such profound implications that we
spend a lifetime working through them. But in it God is saying - I was
the beginning of life and I will be at the end of life. History is
it has a beginning and an end.
This means that the world and the universe as we know it had a
its life is finite - there will be an end to its existence. The same
principle applies to our own lives - we are born and we die, no
Governments rise up and they fade away, nothing lasts forever.
We do not choose the circumstances or the period on the line into which
are born and raised but we have to manage the consequences. Some are
fortunate and go through life with little to disturb their equilibrium.
Others go through the holocaust. Such things do not seem to have any
or purpose, they just happen and what makes the difference is how we
the situations we each find ourselves in.
Jesus said "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good
have overcome the world." This is a clear statement that life for all
is not going to be a bed of roses. On the contrary, we will all face
problems throughout our lives and must accept these as part of life.
It means we have a certain life to live and our choices make a
to us as individuals and to those around us and in our community. We
faced with circumstances and also influence those same circumstances.
not be able to choose when or where we must live out our lives, but we
all choose how we live while we are on our own historical line through
I was born in a time in my own country where we saw the end of white
control over government and the start of majority, democratic rule. It
not a good time to be white and in Africa. We had not behaved well when
power; we had discriminated against the black majority and suppressed
freedoms that were taken as universal rights in the rest of the world.
we faced a period of discrimination designed to redress the imbalances
had created. We were not accepted as citizens with full rights, we even
found ourselves being deprived of what we had built up over the
At the same time we had been in Africa for over a century, we had no
home and knew no other life. We loved our country and were at home
peoples. When we traveled abroad it only confirmed what we already
suspected - we were not Europeans, we were Africans!
But we are on our life line - we had no choice as to where that life
started, but we could shape the life that we lived when on the line. We
chose - both my wife and I and our two children, to stay in Zimbabwe
help put this new nation on a track to success and to make a life for
a family here.
It has not been easy - there have been highs and lows and right now we
the most difficult period that any of us can remember. More difficult
in the civil war, more difficult than when UN sanctions were imposed,
unsettled for everyone, but especially for those who have no
places to live. It is not going to get any easier and we must again
choices, to stay; to flee; to fight, to coexist.
For those of us who choose the hard road, we can draw comfort that
will come an end to this evil regime that has made such a mess of
That is the way of life, of history - life is linear. For those
for this awful mess, life must be a nightmare - like being tied to a
stinking corpse and unable to let go or get rid of this terrible
those responsible for killings and murder and even worse, they must
with the ghosts of their past, unable to leave them behind; they will
them to their own graves and deny them peace.
But what of those of us who stay with the tough road we are on? How do
survive, live our lives to the fullness of what is on offer? I have
that in every thing that happens to me there is a path of hope and
which constantly surprises. In the darkest times there is light and
light banishes the darkness, in fact the darkness flees from this
times of need, something always happens to ensure we find that all our
But more than that - life does not consist of what we eat or we wear,
what sort of house we live. It is much more based on what we do with
lives and the contribution we make to the lives of those who live with
We live rich, interesting lives that face daily challenges to our
and ingenuity. We are surrounded by life - relationships that keep on
growing. The acceptance and recognition of others and the fantastic
experience of life in such a country with its beauty and variety.
The night skies alive with stars, the warm yellow autumn moon, the cool
mornings heavy with dew and birdsong. The blazing evening skies and the
spaces of bush in every color and shape. The great rivers and lakes,
splash of tiger and bream and the sullen stare of a lion in the shade.
The fight for basic human and political rights, which others take for
granted, and which are now denied to us as a people. The struggle for
freedoms that others in developed countries no longer even think about
take for granted. The constant battle to keep our businesses afloat and
somehow stay on top of rising costs and falling currency values. Our
are so rich its sinful and I feel sorry for those who do not have these
challenges to meet every day.
Life is linear but that does not mean we are not called to live life
all its fullness and potential. Only in struggle do we write great
recognize beauty. I am sorry for Mugabe and his collection of goons
they have missed all this and worse - they now have to live with the
consequences of their actions. Am I doubtful about the final outcome?
Never - I have read the Book - in the end we win!
Bulawayo, 5th June 2005