Lebanon (MNN) – The effort to find a replacement Prime Minister in Lebanon failed (again) on Wednesday.
Fifty days after Saad Hariri stepped down, former education minister Hassan Diab finally emerged as the candidate for Prime Minister. Amidst conflict of an increasingly sectarian nature, what started out to be peaceful anti-corruption protests now feel different. “There are some people who are trying to turn this Lebanese crisis or this revolution into a war. So some people have a political agenda with it. People are coming because of some political party who’s not happy with the protests or with people who want to remove the leaders, so they’re just sending people to make us fearful.”
Yet, “This is God shaking everything,” observes Nuna, who heads up Triumphant Mercy Lebanon.
The necessary evils of change
Even as politicians went behind closed doors to solve the impasse on forming the new government, protesters remained in the streets, on the vigil and ready to call leaders to account.
There’s a good and a bad side to this. On one hand, says Nuna, “We did have to close few days”, but she adds that “we’re trying to open it up because of such an economic crisis and so many needs. We’re just adding so many Lebanese as beneficiaries while before it was mainly Syrian people. But now we have so many Lebanese that are calling every day because of dire needs. It’s becoming really, really alarming.”
On the other, although the situation looks dangerous, Nuna says believers regard it as a necessary evil in the process of change. “When you want to go deep into removing the corruption that is deeply rooted in the whole Lebanese system, I believe that when you’re trying to remove the roots from the ground, you have to turn some ground. So it has to have some repercussions and some hardships. It’s a battle.”
Praying with intention
Many other believers join Nuna in their rather philosophical view of Lebanon’s turmoil. Instead of seeing it as a negative, they see it as an answer to prayer. For years, Lebanon’s body of Christ prayed for leaders with integrity. They prayed for change. They prayed Haggai 2:7, which says, “I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Now that it is upon them, they view it as a mother might view labor pains. “It is a process. People are seeing things that we’ve never seen before. Some untouchables, the deputies that have the immunity because they’re covered by some government authority, now they’re exposed. Now they are in court.”
Emboldened by the upheaval, a coalition of ministries decided to plant a prayer tent in downtown Beirut. It went from an ignited spark and grew into a daily stoked prayer furnace.
That’s not to say that this isn’t messy. What’s happening in Lebanon affects many areas of ministry. In particular, the economic crisis and bank regulations on withdrawals hurt a lot of people. Businesses can’t operate without cash. Neither can ministries. “We’re trying to survive, but that’s my daily job now. Go to the bank every day, (and) try to retrieve certain amounts of money because I have a weekly allowance that I’m allowed to bring from the bank. And the weekly allowance is not enough to cover expenses. Now, this is my biggest challenge.”
Pivotal moments in Lebanon
And yet, despite the trouble, Nuna remains optimistic about Lebanon’s future. First, “The new government that’s going to be formed is going to have to work to gain the approval of the people on the streets; they have to work really hard to restore Lebanon.”
She explains why she believes restoration will happen. “They have been putting their trust in certain leaders, in a certain political party, in certain governmental authority, but now everybody’s collapsing, everything is collapsing. And if you look at it without God is really bad. But if we look at it with God or from God’s point to you, I think it’s a turning point.”
What emerges is a unified belief that God’s kingdom will advance in Lebanon. People want to place their hope in something stable, and they’re fascinated by what they observe in a prayer tent in the seat of power. They’re responding to the expectation that Lebanon’s Church displays in prayer.
Given the answers God’s giving, Nuna sees no reason not to be confident? “When we go down and set our tent in the middle of the place of authority in downtown Beirut, now where the big problems are, I believe that there’s something that’s so important when we go to the streets and just proclaim God’s Word on the streets.”
Lebanon’s Church is hope, defined.
(Photo courtesy of Triumphant Mercy Lebanon)