Raise our cries to the Throne of Grace!

I am sure people are relieved that the Mentri Besar (MB) issue in the state of Selangor is finally resolved. I suspect nearly everyone concerned — except for loyal PAS (Islamic Party) conservatives — are happy that the state remained in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR-People’s Alliance) coalition and that the MB came from coalition partner, PKR (People’s Justice Party), which leads the coalition.

Selangor’s new MB is Azmin Ali. He, however, wasn’t the first choice. Other people were considered before him and it looks as if Azmin was picked because that was the only logical choice left.  When the previous MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was sacked, PKR submitted only one name to take his place, that of party president, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. The Selangor Palace, which selects the MB, rejected her name and no reasons were given.

Then, began the guessing game as to who would be chosen. There was a time there when I thought the post would be given to PAS. Thankfully that did not work out. If it did, it would have been dreadful for minority interests in the state! Then, I think it became apparent to the palace that it had no choice but to look to the PKR which has the least number of seats among the coalition partners. But, it had rejected the sole PKR candidate. If it made an about turn and accepted her, that would be losing face, and that’s one of the biggest no-no in Malay culture! So, there was no choice but to select the deputy president who is Azmin. When it became clear that the post was going to PKR, the party president graciously withdrew her candidacy and the party gave its unanimous support to Azmin, saving face for the Sultan and resolving the stalemate. The other coalition partners followed suit. Selangor remained with the PR and got her MB.

When I look at how PAS failed to get the MB’s post and it finally went to Azmin, I can only say it was an answer to prayer! Not just of mine but that of all the people who prayed in unity of purpose. We cried out to Him and He answered.

When Wan Azizah’s name was ignored, many were upset. She had the majority and according to state law, the person with the majority support of the state assembly should be given the MB’s post. Constitutionally she was the qualified candidate but was overlooked and it appeared as if the rule of law was abandoned.

Praying about this, the Holy Spirit dropped these words in my heart, which, really, is the point of this post: “Cry out to me!” Our Lord wants us to cry out to Him because it shows we have the faith to believe in Him to intervene and change. We cry out because the issue isn’t something we can live with; we need Him to intervene because if He doesn’t, it’s a matter of life and death.

I looked up some Scriptures and the first was Habakkuk. Reading the first chapter from verses 1 to 4, I thought how like the prophet Habakkuk I was! He complained to God:

“How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.“!

But, when I read the Lord’s answer, I understood why He wants us to cry out to Him (verses 5-7):

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor… ”

The prophet Habakkuk saw injustice all around him and He could not understand why God wasn’t intervening. From the Lord’s answer, though, we know that He raised an even more terrible force like the Babylonians to judge his chosen people, the Israelites.

Even if we don’t see oppressive forces as judgement on our lives, the fact remains that in history, terrible and more barbaric forces rose up from time to time to trample over other people. There were the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Romans, the Nazis, the Khmer Rouge, China’s Cultural Revolution … . But, just as it was true that they rose to be very powerful, it is also true that every one of them was halted at some point.

In Exodus 3:9-10, God tells Moses: “And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

It’s only when we cry out to Him that we become ready for His answer and will take it seriously. Then, we can expect Him to deliver us from evil.

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