The Sunday Nation of June 7 carried a story in which Dr Kariuki Njenga, chief research officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute, said: “If the virus is like other corona viruses, ‘herd immunity’ will be achieved when approximately 70 per cent of the population is immune through infection or vaccination. As Kenya marches into the second phase of the pandemic by gradually easing restrictions, it is important to prepare ourselves for what life could look like six months, one year, and two years from now.”
These words echo the sentiments of health experts and other professionals across the globe, and signal a situation that is likely to be with us for some time to come. This therefore calls for a thorough preparation for the future.
Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” A vision entails what a person or organisation wants to be, or how one wants the world in which he or she operates to be. It is a long-term view that focuses on a desired end.
God is visionary and always operates with the future in mind. The Bible as well as human history are full of visionary characters who God used to accomplish His will and change the course of events. Men and women like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Miriam, Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, Nehemiah, Esther, the prophets, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, Priscilla and Aquila, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are just a few examples. The greatest of them all is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
What kind of vision do you have for yourself, your family, business, career or ministry? Without a clear picture of where you want to go, “any road will lead you there” because you won’t know when or if you have arrived. It is vision that gives life inspiration and direction.
It was vision that drove people like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Catherine Booth (wife of the founder of the Salvation Army), Hudson Taylor, who pioneered missionary work in China, and great revivalists like Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, George Knox and Charles Henry Spurgeon to alter the course of human history and secure a good future for the next generations.
Dr Njenga also said: “In the second phase, the government will allow some sectors to re-open, but with strict guidelines designed to maintain some level of social distancing and rapidly detect new Covid-19 cases when they occur. This may come with a warning that any flare-up of cases in a particular area will result in a lockdown.”
In other words, governments and even businesses the world over are looking into the future (forecasting) to try and figure out what it might look like and put measures in place to respond to any emerging scenarios. They are being driven by a vision of what they want their citizens and economies to be in the future.
Let’s look at the examples of Abraham and Joshua in the Bible. Genesis 13:14-15 says: “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.’”
The key phrase is “all the land which you see, I give to you”. Seeing is what vision is all about. God invited Abraham (then called Abram) to view the large expanse of land that was his for the taking as opposed to the small pasture over which his and Lot’s herdsmen had fought. Abraham’s possession was therefore based on the extent to which he was able to see – his vision.
Joshua 1:1-3 says: “After the death of Moses, the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them – the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”
Joshua was faced with the gigantic task of taking over leadership from Moses. He was to lead a multitude of people into the Promised Land. God’s instruction was very clear, “Now therefore, arise, go… into the land which I am giving to them…” Remember, the children of Israel were already on their way to the land that had been promised to them and the vision had to be accomplished despite the setback arising from the death of their first leader, Moses.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a setback but it should not deter the fulfillment of our visions and dreams. In fact, we should emerge better – better families, better communities, a better nation and a better world, whose values are not determined by materialistic and humanistic systems but by “foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10)”.
If we are to realise our dreams and visions, then we must avoid distractions. Along the way, there will be people, even close family members, colleagues and friends, as well as difficult circumstances that could divert our attention from the goal. God had to tell Joshua: “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go (Joshua 1:7).”
The words “do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left” were said to enable Joshua to remain focused on the course of the journey. This is a key ingredient in the realisation of a vision. May God give us the grace and strength to accomplish our visions as we adjust to the “new normal”.
The writer is a strategy, research and public policy advisor. He is currently studying Development and Policy at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology.