Greatness is everyone’s destiny. If you are searching for greatness, it is your right. You can find it. The ambition to be great is a legitimate ambition. You can become a legend. It is not farfetched.
The challenges of life offer an opportunity for someone to be great.
Violence, war, instability and the need for lasting peace in the world are among our major challenges and offer you and I an opportunity to achieve our dream.
You were born for greatness
There is a truth which is important for you to know if you don’t already know it. It is God has a plan for your life. This plan is bigger than the biggest plan you have for your life.
The question is: which would you like to see come true? Your plan for your life or God’s plan for your life?
God created all of us for great destinies; but only a few of us are blessed to know that and claim our destiny.
One reason is people fear to let others know they like to be great. There is nothing wrong in being ambitious to be great because that is actually God’s plan for everyone of us.
You don’t have any reason not to claim your destiny as designed by God. Greatness is your God-designed destiny. And greatness is the reward of significant, meaningful service. If you render significant, meaningful service to humanity, you cannot fail to be great.
If you take time and look at God’s plan for the world, you will surely find an opportunity for service that will take you from where you are to where God wants you to be, which is your destiny.
God’s plan for the world
God’s plan for the world is excellence. God meant the world to be an excellent place for all.
That excellence will not fall from heaven. We are the ones to make that happen. We, humans, are the agents that God uses to make his plan for the world come true. The devil also uses some humans to build his own kingdom. And his kingdom is characterized by the evil that reigns in the world.
The extent to which you collaborate with God to make his plan for the world a reality will determine your destiny.
If you offer yourself fully to him to use you fully, greatness beyond measure will be your harvest. That is your destiny.
Look at the world as it is at the moment. What can be your contribution to make it what God wants it to be?
As I said, the challenges that the world faces offer great opportunities to the people of the world for service through which they can realize their destinies.
God wants lasting peace for the world
God wants lasting peace in the world. If you can find a contribution to make toward this search for peace, you will find the greatness you seek.
Looking at this subject to see how through it we can realize God’s plan for our life which is to be great, the question arises:
Can humanity find lasting peace? Is peace for the world feasible?
These are important questions considering the prevailing explosive situation of the world.
Peace is valuable
Peace is a precious commodity; a gift which everybody likes, or so it seems. The question is whether everybody works for it.
Not everybody works for it. A lot of people actually work against it.
Meanwhile, one of humanity’s greatest challenges is to make peace reign in our turbulent world.
There are too many wars
The world is besieged by violence. Wars are everywhere, causing untold destruction to human life and property.
If you are like me, this chaotic situation gives you the shivers.
When I was growing up, one of my greatest fears was the fear of war. It was same for many of my peers.
In school we learned about so many of the wars that had rocked the world like the wars in ancient Greece, the Napoleonic wars, the American war of independence, World War I and World War II, among others.
We feared war coming to us but loved to hear war stories of other lands.
Many of the stories sounded extremely captivating. History classes were quite exciting and so thrilled some of my classmates that they made the subject their specialisation and pursued careers as history teachers.
We celebrated great warriors like Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon Bonaparte and others who became our heroes. Some parents went to the extent of naming some of their offspring after these heroes believing it would positively influence their destinies.
Wars are destructive
We enjoyed the history classes, and admired the brave generals who brought home victory, hardly thinking or caring about the monstrosities of those wars; the huge suffering they inflicted on people.
Think for a moment of the number of people the world has lost through senseless wars which could have been avoided.
It is estimated that a total number of between 108 million and 1 billion people have been killed in wars in human history.
These were people who were not different from you and I, who loved and valued life like we do, and wanted to live peacefully and enjoy the world, but were swept off their feet by war.
Prematurely, they lost their most precious possession – their lives.
The search for peace
If the history of humanity is replete with wars, it is equally marked by the search for peace.
The Cold War between the two Super powers, namely the USA and the Soviet Union, followed World War II. In some parts of the world wars were still going on; but the world was relatively more peaceful thanks to various alliances, the United Nations and other organisations that enabled world leaders to cooperate instead of oppose one another.
Many economies experienced a boom as a result of the peace that prevailed. There were many inventions, scientific and technological developments. Life was more enjoyable. Relations between many nations became good and people could travel and live in countries other than their own peacefully and happily. The enjoyment of life shot up.
Peace has many benefits
When there is peace life is more enjoyable, development is possible; people are happy. They sleep soundly at night, move about and carry out their activities freely and safely.
War brings hardship
When there is war, there are many mishaps; people do not progress as they should; children cannot learn freely in school; life becomes hard and boring; and no one can predict what will happen next to anyone because insecurity becomes the order of the day.
The world is drifting into war
The world is fast drifting into. We seem to be running away from peace into another era of violence, chaos, protests, quarreling, fighting and killing of one another.
Wars are again taking center stage on our planet. We find them here and there; and they hardly end. Someone has rightly said it is easy to start a war but not easy to end it. Instead, new ones come to join the old ones.
These wars are a threat to human life and nature. If the situation continues to grow at this rate, there are serious fears that we may fight and wipe ourselves out of the surface of the earth.
Current efforts for peace
World leaders are making an effort to see that peace reigns everywhere in the world. Our dream is a war-free world; a world that is void of the violent protests that have become so common.
But are our efforts productive? Are they paying? Is there hope in the horizon? Are we on the right path?
We are on the wrong road
It is clear to anyone who can see that we are not on the right road. We are on the wrong road to peace. What is at the end of the tunnel is not light. You may call this a pessimistic view, but I want to stand my ground. I don’t see otherwise. What I see ahead doesn’t give me reason to celebrate.
The road we have taken may lead us to some peace but not to lasting peace.
It doesn’t matter how much money we spend; how much we talk about the need for peace; or how many hours we spend on the negotiating table, we waste our time if we do not go to the roots of the matter and build our peace from there.
But lasting peace is possible
Lasting peace is possible, though. No one should think that the world can never have lasting peace. The world can have lasting peace. But we must do what we should do.
The starting point is to ask ourselves: what are the root causes of all the chaos in the world? Why are people quarrelling all over? Why are they protesting, fighting and killing one another? What are we looking for? We have to get to the genesis of it and put our finger on the real problem.
This will take us right to the beginning of human existence on earth.
The Genesis of war
The first loss of peace in the world was when our first parents disobeyed God and were sent out of the Garden of Eden. They left and began to fend for themselves as they were told, “You will have to work hard all your life to make it produce enough food for you. It will produce weeds and thorns, and you will have to eat wild plants. You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back to the soil from which you were formed.”
That was the beginning of human suffering. As people began to work and to sweat for the soil to produce, anger, jealousy and conflict showed up their ugly faces.
It started with the first two sons of Adam and Eve, who were called, Cain and Abel. Cain killed his own brother, Abel, because of jealousy and anger provoked by a feeling that he was unjustly treated. (Gen.4:8). That was how human conflict came into the world with brother fighting and killing brother.
In the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we find the causes of all the human problems which have invaded the world.
First, it was disobedience of God’s command. We fight and kill others because of our disobedience of God’s command. If we kept the Commandments of God, there would be no conflict in the world. As long as we break them, we will continue to suffer, and to fight and kill each other.
Jesus Christ summarized the Commandments into one which if obeyed would make the world what God wants it to be. He said “Love one another as I have loved you.” John: 15:12
If we loved one another, there would be no injustice in the world. It is because we do not love one another that there is injustice; there is greed; envy; jealousy etc and as long as we have these ills, there can be no peace in the world.
Where there is injustice, there is anger; and anger can make one act violently.
We have injustice because of human greed. Some people would like to have all the blessings of this world to themselves. This causes them to exploit others, cheat, suppress and oppress. Since evil feeds on evil, the result is more evil which at times is violent reactions from those who feel victimized
Our peace will come from God
God is the source of peace. If we turn to him he will give us peace.
In his 2020 Easter message, the most Reverend Archbishop of the Diocese of Bamenda, His Grace, Andrew Fuanya Nkea, stressed this point. His message dwelled on the theme of peace. He titled it “Now is the time for peace”.
Truly, “Now is the time for peace” for the world. We are tired of wars. We are tired of fighting and killing.
The Archbishop actually addressed his message to the people of God in his Archdiocese, in response to the prevailing situation, but it has a universal appeal. It is applicable to all of humanity.
In it he reiterates what has been said over and over – that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, by whose death and resurrection, he conquered his enemies including death not by using force or might but in the most peaceful manner. By this example, he invites us to build and promote peace.
But, the Archbishop makes it abundantly clear, “…peace can only be achieved in truth, justice, love and liberty.”
The message gives us clear insights into the subject of war and peace.
For instance, if we want lasting peace, we must understand that peace is a gift of God because God is peace. He blesses his people with peace.
Jesus Christ came into “our shattered and sinful history, so that we could once more be forgiven, reconcile with God and with one another, and live in peace as God had always intended us to.”
The Peace which Jesus Christ left for us was possible because he “had reconciled us with God and with one another.”
If we want lasting peace, we must be ready to repent, forgive and reconcile.
I wholly agree with the Prelate that as children of God we owe it a duty to seek, promote and build peace.
He quotes the Beatitude which teaches us “Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
Jesus Christ prayed for the soldiers who were nailing him on the cross saying, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”
Forgiveness leads to peace.
In Romans 12:19 we are commanded: “Do not seek vengeance; leave it to the Lord who sees and knows everything.”
That Easter message had it all. For us to have peace, there must be justice, love, respect for the dignity of the human person, and free and sincere communication among men.
The message opened my eyes to the truth that “Throughout the Bible Justice and peace are always treated together because one cannot exist without the other.”
I am happy to summarize excerpts of that brilliant message for you.
He said, “Peace is guided by justice which is the guardian of order. Without justice, people will always be fighting like wild beasts over the prey.”
We learn that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC teaches us in paragraph 3305 that “Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity.”
He touches our hearts with Dr. Martin Luther King’s poignant statement about injustice: “injustice anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere.”
We have to learn to be just; to be fair to others, to give all equal opportunities and rights. We all have a right to be here and to a happy and enjoy life.
Isn’t it senseless that we know we lose everything through violence, killings and burnings, but we continue to fight and kill?
If the world were what God conceived it to be, we would not need to fight a destructive fight to have what we want. God does not say we should fight and kill one another to have what we want.
Mother Teresa taught us an example we should never forget. He fought against the “oppression of the poor and vulnerable” without using force but accomplished “far more than any wars could have” done.
When there is war those who suffer the most are the innocent, the poor, and the vulnerable.
It is within the reach of humanity, through the help of God, to stop the wars that are destroying the world.
As human beings, we have no right to take away human life. Human life is sacred; and it is God alone, the Lord of life, who has the right to take away life.
The fire of much of the violence, the conflicts, and wars tearing the world to pieces is ignited by our inflammatory language, and lies.
If we want to have true peace or lasting peace in the world, we must turn to God for it. He is the one who can give us peace; and will do so only if we obey his command to love one another.
How do we love one another?
We love one another by doing to others only what we would like another to do to us; by treating others with dignity; by being fair and just to others.
The role of education
Education has a big role to play to give lasting peace to the world. The world as it is now is a product of our education. It is the way it is because of the decisions and choices we have made since the beginning of humanity; and our education whether formal or informal, determines how we think, decide and act.
If our first parents disobeyed God, it was because the devil taught them what was wrong and they took their decision based on that wrong knowledge.
What do we teach our children at the moment? To fight, to compete, to outsmart others. We teach them that honest people end last; that the way to get ahead is to take short cuts; that there is no honesty in politics.
Can there be any doubt that the world is such a war zone?
Language and the words we use
The language we teach our children matters. Words have tremendous power. With words God created the world. Words can build and can destroy. Words can give peace and can cause war. We have to teach ourselves to build and not to destroy with our words. We have to teach our children to express love not hate when they speak; to unite with their words not to divide; to foster cooperation, not separation; tolerance, not intolerance; understanding and compromise not intransigence.
What way forward?
Lasting peace is a possibility for our world and is God’s plan for the world. If the world is so chaotic today, we are the ones who have made it so. This was started by our first parents. Their disobedience of Gods command in the Garden of Eden brought original sin into the world, and it opened the door to hard labour, suffering and eventually competition, rivalry, jealousy, anger, fighting and killing.
To have peace, we must be obedient to God. If we obey him he will give us peace for God is peace.
Now, what can be our contribution to find lasting peace in the world? And how can this challenge take us to the realization of our destiny or God’s plan for our life?
That takes us to the main purpose of this reflection to show how you can use the challenge of war and peace to lift yourself to greatness.
You can make peace and non- violence your life work.
History is full of people who dedicated their lives to this cause and gained prominence.
We have already seen one of these great peace makers who is Mother Teresa. Others include: Aung San Suu Kyi, Benazir Bhutto, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King,, Jr.
Take up peace-making and you will find there is a lot you can do.
You can promote peace from a religious perspective taking the Bible and Jesus Christ as your foundation.
If you like, you may take education as a vehicle for peace and promote peace and non violent education in schools.
You can take up the promotion of the language of love and peace. You already know the importance of language to create violence, war or peace.
These are some of the areas you can explore. There will be more. All is for you to take time and ficus and see from which angle you can approach the subject. Somebody may decide to crusade against war and the manufacture of arms.
The long and short of this is, you can stand on the platform of war and peace and find your way to your destiny.
Do not think you must start big. Start small. Start where you are and grow.
What qualities do you need?
Briefly, let us look at the qualities that will help you get to where you want to go?
Know your destination andu:
- Be clear
- Be focused
- Be decisive
- Be determined
- Be courageous
- Be confident
- Have faith/belief
Thank you immensely for reading. I hope you got some inspiration. If you keep on doing your best, you will reach the top. God bless you.