I’ve just spent a month in Africa teaching the TCT program. One of the big things we look at during trainings are the beliefs that keep people locked in poverty. There are many. The South Sudanese team shared some really powerful lies that keep them in poverty, such as, “We are a baby country, so everyone should just give to us” and “We are the land of Cush that was cursed in Isaiah 18; we are cursed.” While these lies and their impact are incredibly sad, it was fun to watch the team search scripture to find the truth to counter each of those lies and recognise it isn’t what God says about them at all.
*Fatalism* is one of the more universal lies that we see in much of the Majority World. Fatalism says, “We are born poor and will die poor; it is our destiny; you can’t change the future.” Many countries have fatalistic sayings, like, “The son of the king will be a king. The son of a pauper will be a pauper.” Fatalism is strongly believed almost everywhere that we work, and it locks people in poverty. If you believe your destiny is set, then you don’t dream of a different future. In the communities where we first started, when we asked people to draw a map of what they hoped their village would look like in 20 years, they didn’t understand the activity. Their village hadn’t changed in the last twenty years, so why would it change in the next 20? Even once they started to draw, they were cautious. Can we draw a road, a bridge, a school?
For those of us in the West, this mindset is hard to imagine. We grow up believing anything is possible if we only work hard enough. And yet that message is not taught around the world. For many, fatalism teaches, “I can’t change, so why should I try to? I should accept my destiny and be satisfied.” It steals hope. And without hope, people don’t make changes.
The message of the Bible is completely different. It shows us God has a plan, history is going somewhere, and we do have a role to play. Jeremiah 29:11 says: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. It tells us that God has a plan, that there can be a different future. As we teach, we remind churches of the way that God used everyone from Jonah to Joseph (son of Jacob) to change the future.
Please join us in praying for those who are trapped in the lie of fatalism, who believe that there is no hope of a different future.
- Pray for a restoration of hope. Pray for individuals and families in poverty, for them to gain a vision for what God desires for their lives. Pray for opportunities for people to develop their skills and gifts, so that they can see how they can take steps towards a future that is different than their ancestors or those around them.
- Pray for communities and nations who have systems that lock people in fatalism. Pray for the leaders of the nation to gain a vision for God’s unique plan for individuals, families, communities and societies. Pray for them to see the potential for communities and nations to be transformed. Pray for a vision for their communities and nations, for development of potential and for well-being. Pray for them to have the courage and strength to work towards a new vision.
- Pray for those trapped in religious beliefs that promote fatalism. Pray for revelation of the character of God, especially of His goodness and His faithfulness. Pray for people to know God as a loving Father whose plans are for good, for a hope and a future. Pray for their eyes to be opened to God’s desires for their lives.