Be general or THE general

Be general or THE general

I see a photo this week and it’s haunting. This time it wasn’t someone hurting. It was lambs: A few sheep on a farm in South Africa desperate for water, food…relief.

General lamb
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

And I guess that’s the trend in our country today. We dream of relief.


Our Wish

No matter on which side of the political fight (because all we seem to do is fight these days) you’re at, you crave release.

Release from poverty.

Release from oppression…no matter what race you are.

Release from abuse…

Release from addictions.

Release from jobs we hate.

Release from heartbreak.

Release from drought.


I Plead

The list goes on and I pray. No, I plead. Lord, why can’t You…PLEEEASE Lord will you bring hope for these people. All of us in all these situations.

My wish is that our country’s problems get solved instantly: That He helps us forgive, He brings rain and He gives us wisdom to work together. Instantly.

I start a conversation. At the end I had goosebumps…but not because I got the answer I was hoping for.


He Created a Plan – We Made it a Problem

We (not just South Africa but the world at large I guess) are suffering in part because of sin.

I want to clarify my definition of sin: Sin as in ‘missing the mark’. He designed us for specific purposes: To love, to flourish, to be wise. When we don’t live that way…we miss the mark…that’s sin. We all sin.

So the consequences are not because God WANTS us to suffer or because He’s directly punishing us.

It’s natural consequences for our refusal to listen to His guidance.

He created rules. He set guidelines. He said ‘Rule the earth’. And humanity did a very poor job of that.

Now, because of centuries of sin (missing the mark, not listening to His voice, feeding our cravings for power, lust and pleasure) we’ve brought suffering to earth. Just look at the percentage of broken families and the amount of plastic washing up on our shores. Yes, in all aspects, humans are pretty much missing the mark.

We can’t blame Him for that.

So what now?


Enter…De La Rey

A few weeks ago I was at a concert. Bok van Blerk. I’m not a regular…but a few of his songs I will admit: They bring me to tears. The passion for this country, the land and its people – it’s impossible to ignore.

And then he sang that song: De La Rey.

Let’s be clear: I’m not writing any of this because we’re all supposed to choose sides or to bring up the past. There’s enough of that and it’s not doing us any good.

But the song calls someone to lead.

And this is what I saw: A crowd being drawn by a single man with a single song. Multiple people in the audience drifted towards the stage. They flocked towards…their general.

In that moment, Bok was their De La Rey.

And this is what our country needs: A great many De La Reys.

What did he fight for over a century ago? Reading his story I believe this general’s convictions and motivations were based on a wish for peace, fairness and the best for the country; Not a political ideology, power or racism.

That’s the kind of general this world needs.


If Only We Would…

The song is being sung and you see the people’s yearning. A solution for their situations. We CRAVE for someone to show us the way.

And we’re all blind to what’s right in front of us.

Do we not realize WE are the generals the country is hoping for? Do we not see we can’t leave it up to the corrupt leaders?

A different kind of leader – the good general – needs to help people find their relief.

And that…that’s all of us.

Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash
  • What do we as generals do around a braai? Do we speak truth and positivity or only complain?
  • Instead of repeating fake news and bad news about our country and the world, why aren’t we praying for His opinion on the matter and sharing that? That would make us generals.
  • Being kind to the people who work for you, instead of breaking them down as others do – that’s being a general.
  • Breaking down barriers between white and black simply by respecting the waiter, your colleague or a shop assistant – that’s taking the lead.
  • Taking your family to church, not out of guilt, but because you know you need Him – you’re being THE RIGHT KIND OF general.
  • Fighting for what’s RIGHT, not what seems the best for your culture, race or gender – you’re being a general.
  • Praying about a situation instead of complaining about it – that’s you being a general.
  • Being fair and kind when you’re getting the opposite in return – that’s a general’s design.
  • Artists, pastors, businessmen, celebrities – you’re all generals (which direction are you taking your people?)

Let’s be clear: I don’t want to be naive and not realise how terrible some situations are. But do we want to be led out of the problem or simply wallow in it?

And we’ve all heard this speech before. But as Bok was singing I saw in people a hunger for a leader. If we stand up – others will follow.

Some challenges may seem impossible to overcome, but I’m not prepared to not try. Across the globe people see change because someone decided to be a general and stand up for something. I’m not about to miss out on good results simply because others are too lazy to do the right thing.

Words have power. Actions have consequences. If we want more of a life…we have to initiate it.

lamb general
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I’m praying for relief. For that lamb…and for each one in this country, even the world.

It’s not going to happen if I don’t do my share and be the general for my family, neighborhood, colleagues and friends.


And each day that I do take up the challenge to listen to Him…He astounds me with situations where love, peace, Godly power and results shine through. But only if I decide to be a general that day.


God’s Not Allowing Me to Lose Hope in This Country

God’s Not Allowing Me to Lose Hope in This Country

Okay, so I’m not professing to be an expert…definitely not a politician…and perhaps I’m naive in MANY aspects of life. But I only have what I perceive to be true. For me, what God shares with me is true. That’s all I have and all I cling to (naively) sometimes.

Why do I stick to this outlook? All the times I clung to His Word, words and guidance…it proved to be true (although sometimes only EVENTUALLY) and it proved ENOUGH.

So it stays. His opinion stays in my heart and it stays the thing I simply CAN’T let go of.

And what is it He’s refusing me to give up on now? Hope. Hope for this country, South Africa. Hope for my family in this country.

For some reason, He keeps on telling me to believe in South Africa.

How it Started

It started in 1994 when we all collected canned food in fear of civil war and chaos just before the election. That chaos didn’t happen, did it?

That cemented it for me: God had a plan for this country. So, for the next 20 years I firmly believed it and proclaimed it.

I also saw and became part of so many movements that fought for truth, for justice, for people’s rights, for reconciliation, for people’s healing and for God’s plan in this land. I KNEW He was busy with something and I believed: He has a plan to bring the best out of us. And we were all made for a time like this.

As I’m writing, I realise it’s important to remember that this plan is not focused on giving people comfort or glory. It’s so He can have the glory and that more people can find Him. That’s always the goal.

Back to my story: Now, I will be naive if I don’t admit certain things changed…got worse…have become scary over the last 20 years.

My Second Encouragement

I state again: I’m no political expert. But even I knew when a certain political figure got fired that it spelled bad news for us.

Bad news in terms of corruption and fighting for the rights of the common people. I find hope when I see good people still fight for what is right in corrupt environments. When they get beaten down, I do falter in my faith.

So, one morning I woke up. My husband saw it on the news. He told me. I burst into tears. In a moment, my fears became bigger than my 20 year long faith and trust. I was scared.

And then it came. For NO reason my husband read a scripture (not something he would necessarily do and he wasn’t aware I was crying fearfully) that told me not to fear. Forgive me, I can’t remember the specific verse, only that in that SPECIFIC moment God reminded me He is bigger than whatever is going on in parliament.

And my faith took hold again.

My Recent Reminder

Fast forward a few months and the news isn’t necessarily getting any better. I wake up this week. Fear grips me.

I only see chaos in parliament, corruption in the police force and hate between cultures. Leaders cheat us out of our money and it doesn’t seem that we can really bring them to justice.

Yes, I’m thankful certain role players (even international agencies) got outed and I’m a firm believer that those were miracles in themselves. But are we really moving in the right direction yet? And let’s not start on how scary it is to think of the fear farmers live in.

So my day starts with these thoughts. Perhaps because I heard about it a lot this past week. My heart flips…fear is on top again instead of faith.

My God is the only place I can run to. Something drives me to go seek His face early in the morning. (I admit, I’m not always so diligent). I pray. For our home, my day…but also passionately, fearfully, for our country. Begging for the yoke to be lifted all of our shoulders. All cultures. All races. We need peace.

And God answers. Instantly.

Nahum 1

The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
    but with an overwhelming flood
…  he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.

“Although they have allies and are numerous,
they will be destroyed and pass away.
13 Now I will break their yoke from your neck
and tear your shackles away.”

He will act. He is in charge. He sees.

I realize that Moses never saw the promised land. I have no guarantee that I will see our country in peace and utter victory. But I don’t know what happens after I’m gone. His promise fulfilled? That’s the possibility.

What I don’t want is that that victory takes longer because I don’t do my share in His plan.

Because here’s the other thing I believe: While He wants to give us release, He also expects us to do our part: Being God fearing people, following His values, living love. That’s our part in all of this.

Because I WAS created for a time like this. And my actions can bring the change He speaks of, whether it happens now or 20 or 50 years down the line.

I know it’s easier said than done, but I want to commit to His bigger plan, rather than my fearful one.

I CAN pray. I can do good to all around me, reminding more and more people that we’re not all bad, that race doesn’t have to matter, that we can decide to do good, rather than evil.

I see miracle stories. Reconciliation happens in small ways. Someone offers to buy another’s bread at a till, of you discuss racial differences with someone from a different culture (lovingly, not defensively). Someone writes a song about hope (oh, how I admire our artists who proclaim hope). People live moral lives based on wisdom, instead of taking the easy road. We keep on praying for the right leaders who are doing a tough job fighting corruption. These, to me, are the miracles…the steps in the right direction.

It’s what He calls me to do. Along with believing, not fearing. Not being naive, but realising our values, our prayers, our actions determine where this country ends up.

And I STILL believe there’s hope. Because He says so.

Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash

I Saw You

I Saw You

I’m eating a chocolate in the car because I thought I deserved a spoil.


And then I see you.


You’re old. You’re tired. You’re doing your boss/colleague/partner’s bidding, tending to something at the back of the truck.


I wish I could exchange places with you for a moment. You worked physically hard today while I was behind my laptop. And now I’m eating chocolate in an air conditioned car while you’re labouring in the heat.


I know you’re a hard worker. I know there’s no thought in your mind of not getting up for work again tomorrow. Yes, you need the money, but hard work is part of who you are.


Yes,  I work hard too. But in my environment employers think about job satisfaction, developing their teams’ potential and giving incentives. I think you simply work hard because it’s what you do…and have to do.


I’m thankful for the job God provided where I can use skills I love. I wish I knew what you would have chosen if you had the opportunity.


I can’t change your life. I know our decisions-yours too-determine where we end up. And perhaps others in high paying jobs feel exactly as you do at the end of a Friday afternoon.


I can’t exchange places with you. But I can give you respect. You’re worth just as much as me, the millionaire in the BMW next to us and the teenagers dancing at the intersection in the hope I’ll give them a few coins.


I will respectfully smile if I pass you in the shops, because that’s what we all would want. And I hope it will turn your tired eyes into smiling ones, even if just for a second.


I salute you.

The South Africa I love(d)

The South Africa I love(d)

So…they’re tarring the road that runs past our front gate. Yes: South Africa still has signs of progress. That is the first fact I want to impress upon you. Just down the road from me a stunning estate with a brand new school has opened. So in spite of our focus on that which is going south (no pun intended) in our country, innumerable lights jump up in the darkness. I’m referring to building projects, innovative people doing great things, entrepreneurs living their creative thoughts, charity projects helping the broken hearted.


All of this have not stopped…even though there is a lot of frustration with our leaders and a lot of hate speech doing the rounds, we have much to combat that negativity. Because I believe the only way we can keep on making this country better is to have hope that it CAN get better. And hope is fueled by current truths. So there you have one: progression. And here’s some more.

These workers outside our gate. I do not fear them. I do not simply tolerate them. They have become a happy moment in my day whenever  I leave for work (which I still have in this country) or the shops (these seem to keep on jumping up as well). The workers don’t hate me. Their smiles are genuine and their recognition of my car is followed by excited waving. The assistance I get from them is what I love of South Africa. Despite our racial differences we respect each other…because that’s our default. Even amidst students fighting and parliament frankly becoming a joke, there’s a group of South Africans-both blacks and whites-that do their utmost to live the value of civility and respect and love.

A few weeks ago I was late for work and so I entered the road well after the workers started their day. At the moment I wanted to charge down the road, the workers were just getting into wetting the earth and using the TLB (I marvel at how construction workers expertly manoeuvre these huge vehicles). I turned into the road and everything stopped. They stopped everything. For me.

I was disturbing their daily task. I was interfering with their schedule. But they did not hesitate for a second to move all the heavy machinery out of the way…and then they would not let me pass. Not until they smoothed the gravel to make sure my car was not hurt. I know they may have a foreman who would swear at them if they upset the locals. But this group of hard workers looked after me and my car in such a caring way at a time when they could have left me to my own devices or kept me waiting until they were finished.

I messed with their schedule again just a day or two later when I got stuck in some of the soft earth being prepared for tarring. The wise old workers deliberated, got everyone together and lifted my car out of the sand while making sure nothing is damaged, all the while communicating with me, smiling broadly. He could have been brash. I would have understood. They work hard and I’m simply a bother in a hectic day. But they weren’t. They were the most friendly people I came across that day.

Every morning I’m met by these workers(who are doing a very neat job of laying the road by the way). Every morning I’m reminded that South Africa has a choice. I am blessed by a group that chooses to live respect and that gives me hope. I smile back because I love them for turning our road into tar, for doing a good job and for making me feel safe and accepted when all around us everyone is fighting.

These people are what I love about our country. That different types of people can live love and friendliness…even when it’s not necessary. We do it because we can…not because we must. And sometimes we need to be reminded of the power within each of us to influence those around us…with love…not hate.

I know there’s a lot that’s wrong with this country. But not all of it is. Some aspects are so RIGHT. And I will passionately believe that it can outgrow the rest.

Easy? No.

Possible? Yes!

Don’t let this goodness die. Please.

Are we going to make our countrymen smile…or cry? You decide.