Posted on: 2013-11-17

Nothing is Impossible for God
\"Out of the mouths of children and babes, you have found praise Oh Lord\" so runs the third verse of psalm 8. You might as well read \"out of the feet of teenagers and youths\" Thank God for the Golden Eaglets who gave Nigeria bragging rights over the entire world when they won the FIFA under 17 world football trophy. Though from Nigeria, a country little known for fair play in anything, the youths won the FIFA fair play award, the Adidas golden gloves, the Golden Ball and the silver boots award. They scored a record number of 26 goals, the highest ever of the competition. At about the time when even Nigerians were thinking that little good was possible in the country the Eaglets reminded us that, really, nothing is impossible for God.

Lessons to Learn
Such a commentary on what the pristine Nigerian spirit could achieve if well harnessed. Looking at the players, many have suggested that this is perhaps the only time Nigeria has actually played the competition without using age cheats. After suffering a comprehensive defeat from the Golden Eaglets, the sleek Uruguay team suggested that Nigeria had fielded over-aged players. The organizers paid no attention and Nigeria did not even need to put up any defense. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin disgraces a people\" (Prov. 14:34). The handler of the Eaglets, Coach Manu Garba had other important lessons to teach us all. When he spoke about the victory he thanked President Goodluck Jonathan and then thanked his wife whom he said had to put up with his absence for over four months. He thanked her for her sacrifice. In this age of debilitating strikes, call that \"a long strike away from family\", albeit a productive, golden one. Coach Garba\'s big lesson is that in spite of the current encroaching environment of myopic self-centredness, appreciation for one\'s nation and family must never be jettisoned. As the Church has always taught, the common good and family values should rank higher than all self adulation.

Those Who Bring Good News
God has indeed used these Nigerian youngsters to confound those who had written the country off. Our teeming youths must believe more in themselves in spite of their present predicament. Nigeria suffers so much embarrassment due to the greed and corruption of her leaders who instead of restoring the country resort to raping and abusing her. Such leaders feed their ego and scoff at the agony and helplessness of the masses. For over four months now the country has seen a macabre game of political and economic arm-wrestling between University dons and the government. Nigerian Universities have remained shut over an agreement of the government\'s, signed many years ago but never honored. The unfortunate situation has simply worsened the distress level in the country and claimed lives too. Millions of jobless youths scramble for dwindling opportunities joined by undergraduates who would do anything but stay home. Many have long disengaged from patriotic conduct and turned to armed robbery, drugs and prostitution. Many others half-baked graduates from the intervals between strikes in the past are unemployable anyway. The females among them, clutching Sexually-Transmitted Degrees(STD) simply try to make hay by the same means as escorts and instruments of the perversion of the high and mighty. It was from this depressing environment that the Nigerian under 17 youths still bested the entire world to bring good news to their fatherland.\"How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news... \"(Is. 52:7).

Saving Their own Lives
Nigerian youth, must simply take their country and future back from the hands of pathologically corrupt and wicked leaders. They must relearn the culture of self-discipline, hard work, collaboration mutual respect which fetched the Nigerian Eaglets victory. Even in the field of play these youngsters served one another. None sought to be the hero by all means. Jesus said \"the greatest among you must be your servant\" (Matt. 20:20). Service is the pristine form of leadership. Those who practice it serve humanity and God also. Only if values like service, self discipline, solidarity, mutual respect are reabsorbed into our national psyche can we successfully build a new nation. I call on all young people to give new flavor to Nigeria and save it from moral decadence. They will be saving their own lives.

Models from the Bible
The Bible has shown that God redeems his people also through the youth. Samuel was certainly under 17 when God called him to transform Israel. He answered: \"Speak Lord your servant is listening\" (1Sam 3). David himself was likely under 17 when he liberated his people by fighting and defeating Goliath. (1 Sam. 17). Interestingly, King Saul and all his army tried to dress him up in the king\'s armour but it weighed him down. Worldly solution for safety and security was not what he needed but God\'s. I ask the youth today to jettison the false security of corruption, hatred greed and impunity of the older generations in Nigeria and count on the way of Almighty God alone. That and that alone guarantees their victory as it did for David. Would that the older generations knew this secret! Jesus said: \"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and made them known to little ones. Yes, father, such has been your gracious will\" (Lk. 10:21-22). God bless the youth of Nigeria!