I asked Ray Haakonsen, Oceans SA Ambassador, to write a blog on the incredible win of the South African rugby team and how it is a prophetic picture for the country.
On Saturday, November 2, 2019 South Africa WON the Rugby World Cup! In the final match the Springboks convincingly trounced England. For those of you who may not know rugby or how big it is in our country, think TEXAS, Megaburgers, Empire State building, The Grand Canyon, The Super Bowl and World series. YES, this win is HUGE for our country!
As a passionate rugby follower, who played the game for my country of birth at school, U/20 and senior level, I want to share the significance of this win with you as a follower in Christ who believes God has a prophetic calling on this nation to be a blessing to the world. A bit of background information is helpful to realize the importance of this victory.
South Africa has had a tumultuous history with fighting between different ethnic, religious, nationality and cultural backgrounds, and like much of Africa has been used by many outsiders which has added to the struggle to find harmony amongst its people over the centuries. (For further history the book “The Covenent” by James Michener gives insight to that past.) In 1995 The Rugby World Cup was held in South Africa for the first time, shortly after the first democratic elections in our country. With the end of Apartheid and iconic Nelson Mandela voted in as President by a vast majority of the people, our country was in a state of unpredictability.
Hosting the World Cup in 1995 during this extreme tension left many fearing a bloodbath . Thankfully, it was quite the opposite AND our Springbok team against ALL odds and predictions, WON the iconic Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup Final against New Zealand. One will never forget Nelson Mandela holding the Cup with our Afrikaans Captain, both wearing similar #6 Jerseys
I watched the final with my son Kegan at a church hall and on our drive home we witnessed a second miracle, and truly it was alongside the Springboks winning, as people of every race, standing, color, culture and political background, waving South African flags, dancing in the streets, hugging and kissing, ululating, celebrating, not only for the Springbok win, but the coming together of her people around a new nation that was on the edge in so many ways! It truly ranks as one of my most joyous experiences in my life.
A second victory was claimed in 2007 and now again in 2019! Only 18 months ago this team was ranked a lowly 8th in the world. Yet, together, despite faltering against the mighty All Blacks, this South African team-which by the way represented players of every color-came together under the leadership of Coach Rassie Erasmus who instilled belief and hope! And amazing things happened!
This 2019 team chose as it’s Hashtag #Strongertogether and instilled hope and pride and galvanized its people as had happened in 1995. The team continually reminded their fans that they were playing for all 56 million South Africans and the country rallied around them, even those who didn’t know much about rugby. The final was a clash to note with the multiracial and skilled team fighting for the honor and hope of our nation! It was EPIC! The interview of Captain Siya Kolisi was tear-jerking as he shared about his humble beginnings in the townships, and how at times he went without food to eat as a child, never dreaming of winning a World Cup!
When Coach Kolisi was asked if the team felt “under pressure” during the tournament, he responded by saying, “pressure is felt when people don’t have a job and don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or how to counsel a family member who has been raped or another who lost a loved one to murder…that’s pressure. We have played to bring hope!”
Many of the players on the team are followers of Christ and unashamedly testify of their love for Christ on their wrist bindings and believe (as I do) that this win was not just for the players and management who have worked so hard, but to bring HOPE to us all in His name. My prayer, in the aftermath of this historic victory, is that the joy, togetherness, hope and fighting spirit of the mighty, but humble Springboks, would permeate into South Africa’s very being as in 1995, and we would see this wave begin to be carried on the wings of the Spirit of God through its people and be shared world-wide.
I believe Abba Father can use all things for His honor and glory, a rugby match, players, coaches, fans and the list goes on. May this event cause unbelievers to be overwhelmed by the love of the Father and see a new dawn arise where hate has often reigned. Yes, I am proud to be South African, but even more proud and overjoyed to be welcomed by ABBA Father and living within His family. May hope and love bring forth much fruit!
Our cry to the Lord is: “For the Earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” – Habakkuk 2:14.
Amen and Amen.