George Orwell of the famous ‘Animal Farm’ is one of the most celebrated English writers of the Twentieth Century. Orwell is reported to have said that if you want to keep a secret then you must also hide it from yourself.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, two centuries before Orwell, an American statesman Benjamin Franklin said, “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead”.
Both men, who lived miles and generations apart had somewhat similar conclusions.
Secrets and Intrigues
We sometimes cherish discussing some of the out-of-the sun dealings of governments – and no government department provides more fodder for these discussions than the Military. This is a delicate delicacy for both ‘hawks’, of whom am the chief, and ‘doves’, of whom am the subordinate. As a semi fuddy-duddy fellow, I ruminate on these monomaniacal matters momentously.
Where can we regurgitate this chewed fodder from, if not the Caribbean!
The former Cuban strongman Fidel Castro passed on in 2016. His death brought to the fore some of the most intricate and intriguing happenings in history. Anyone who has laboured to keep tabs on the history of the Cold War is likely to be familiar with the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Operation Mongoose and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In particular, I would want to give my treat to the Missile Crisis. This means that we have to fly back through several decades and land at the feet of John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev and their Ping-Pong boy Fidel Castro.
The year is 1962 and the world is standing on the cusp of nuclear war. The Siberian Tiger is strategizing on how to protect the Tocororo.
So, what happened?
The Soviet Union had clandestinely stationed nuclear weapons on the largest Caribbean Island, and when the government of the United States discovered them and demanded their withdrawal, the most precarious confrontation of the Cold War ensued. Any slip-up made either in the White House or the Kremlin could have triggered a catastrophe: A Third World War!
Before this, in the year 1959, Americans had stationed Jupiter missiles in Turkey. The missiles could strike several targets within the Soviet Union. It seems that Nikita Khrushchev followed this example and stationed Intermediate Medium Range Ballistic Missiles in Cuba. The missiles were an existent threat to the continental USA. It was a tit-for-tat game.
The entire Soviet project was to remain hush-hush and only presented to the USA as fait accompli. In this way, the USA would have to adapt to a nuclear-armed Cuba. However, the whole process was as complex as necessary and could not escape the roving eyes of USA intelligence systems. Funnily enough, the Soviet diplomats in the USA and elsewhere were unaware of the project and when it was disclosed, they flatly denied.
Pushes and shoves between the two Superpowers went on in full swing and the world was teetering on the verge of incineration. After the juggernauts charges, reason prevailed and the world heaved a sigh of relief again.
An interesting thing about this hubris-motivated hubbub is the fact that we now have sufficient information on what transpired.
Can we afford the price of concealing a matter?
In the Book of Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV), the Bible declares, ‘The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”.
For a long time, I have grappled with myriad mysteries and marvels in my mind. I have wondered why some things happen. And why they happen the way they do. I have made speculations and guesses here and there.
Why don’t things happen this way and not that way?
Why must we live in conurbations ridden with crimes? Why must this world be a doomsday tinderbox?
My mind paces are faster than a race car; perhaps in an endeavour to catch up with my heartbeat. It tries to understand a thing here and thing there. And at the end of the day, I retire to my bed in wonderment. Wondering why Syrians fought, Yemenis are slaughtering each other, when will the world unite to stop global warming and ozone depletion. Why do people behave the way they do? What motivates them, or underpins variations in behavioural inclinations?
I do not stop here. I cover more mileage, peradventure I might understand two or three things about God and His workings. I build scaffolds between my heart and mind, for they say the longest distance on earth is between our hearts and our minds.
God’s ways catch even the smartest of them all with utter surprise. The most gifted and talented cannot outflank the Almighty. The genius of humans fails flat before God.
GOD can occasionally hide things even from His most beloved.
The Great Prophet Samuel, the Son of Promise, The chosen Midwife of Israel Monarchy, never knew David was the one to be anointed as King. He went about making guesses until the LORD intervened. God does not want us to wax arrogant and at one point think we did it because of our strength and workings.
Moses did not know Pharaoh will turn out to be disturbingly stubborn. Moses the greatest Old Testament Leader did not have access to some of God’s classified information. Moses the meekest of them all could not foresee this. God did not reveal to Him the whole Deliverance Plan. God reveals His plans in stages so that we can learn to depend on Him.
Joshua did not know Ai will be a hard nut to crack. Joshua the greatest Old Testament military strategist. Joshua the man full of faith in HaShem. With Caleb, they refused to regard themselves as lowly as grasshoppers. They refused to see giants in the Promised Land. They went forth in faith. However, in this scenario, we find Joshua outwitted. He is outgunned by a grasshopper. Why couldn’t God reveal to Him that something was wrong before they went to the battlefield? Not always, will the LORD show it in advance. We are still humans and we can make blunders.
Aren’t you amazed that the Bible does not hide the failures of such great personalities?
Elijah did not know Jezebel can put him to flight. He defeated the prophets of Baal, but immediately took off when he was threatened by Jezebel. He was a man with a nature like ours. The great Prophet Elijah feared death, little did he knew death feared him, for he never died. If God had revealed to him that he would fly to heaven on a chariot of fire, then probably he would have not runway from Jezebel. He sharply slid from faith to fear.
Ezekiel did not know that the bones in the valley can turn into a host of an army. He confessed it to God; that he doesn’t know! It was hidden from him, lest he thinks he puffs up. Sometimes God hides things from us so that we do not assume His Omniscience nature.
There are many more Bible personalities that we can learn from. The LORD hides from us some stuff so that we do not get prideful and imagine we can do without Him.
You don’t give your children inheritance until at a certain time – and age. Otherwise, they will blow it away. They will squander it. They will grow horns and butt you. They will eat and curse you. They will become lazy. They will work no more. They will pray no more. They will scorn others – who they think are dumb. They will trample on others.
Perpetually open heaven will finally be abused by imperfect men and women. That is why it is paramount to move circumspectly lest we exalt ourselves beyond measure.
Our God reveals Himself and at some occasions, He hides.