Jimmy's Way

It was September 1994 and America was poised to invade Haiti to save the small island-nation from continued rule of the military that had overthrown the popularly-elected government of President Jon Bertrand Aristide.

The Haitian military and the civilian government put in place under the military leader, General Rauol Cedras, had declared that Americans could not be trusted. They swore that they would not be forced from their country. Yet negotiations were begun to restore President Aristide. The U.S. peace team was led by former President Jimmy Carter. Along with retired General Colin Powell and Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, the negotiator from Plains, Georgia continued to reason long past the must-leave hour set by President Clinton, believing that democracy could be restored to Haiti without direct U.S. military intervention. His charge from President Clinton had been to find a peaceful implementation plan for United Nations Resolution 940 which declared the situation in Haiti "a threat to peace and security of the region" and required deployment of a Multinational Force (MNF) led by United States troops to ensure the safe return and rule of President Aristide.

President Clinton had characterized General Rauol Cedras and his men as murderers and thugs. Mr. Carter knew President Aristide's rule would be imperiled with Cedras still in Haiti. Yet he chose to characterize Cedras as a family man and a patriot. Mr. Carter esteemed Cedras and attributed to him character others in the west could not see. And Mr. Carter's delegation initially agreed that Cedras and the members of his government should not be forced from their country, but rather participate in a seven-point plan requiring American and Haitian troops to work together until the restoration of Aristide to the Presidency. The date of restoration was set as October 15, 1994. In the end Cedras and his military rulers all left the country leaving President Aristide free to resume his rule unencumbered by the weight of their presence. It is now 1996, and we know that the carefully-brokered peace did hold.

This was not Mr. Carter's first venture into the world of mediation since leaving the White House in 1980. He had served as an observer for the 1990 elections that put President Aristide in office. He was instrumental in negotiating a settlement with North Korea over nuclear stockpiles believed to be used for building nuclear weapons, and that after being involved in the first settlement abandoned by North Korea.

Some argue that his efforts have only been successful because of the U.S. military and economic muscle and that he has given away far too much in his effort to preserve peace at any cost. Besides, all of his negotiations depend on the good will of the parties involved and have provided little assurances to the U.S. The peace has lasted; but it has been trying. And there will be new problems to face.

It is a different situation with Jesus. We were once at war with God, but God sent Jesus to mediate a peace between us. And he came to us as a man, ensuring full understanding of our position; our needs and desires and the hindrances to obtainment. He communicated to us the requirements of the Father and He returned to the Father with the confirmation of our inability to meet them. Yet there was a way. The same way as when He passed through the land of Egypt destroying with a plague the first-born in every house, and passing over only those homes covered with the blood. The blood of the slain lamb protected Israel (by separation) from a much more powerful foe and the plagues suffered by that foe. The same is true today. And each moment of every day that way is repeated to the Father as we recognize our weakness and rely on the blood:

"Okay. Now here is where we are. He's tried this on his own repeatedly and is now ready to give it up. His desires are common to all man; he wants his children to grow up free from oppression, able to exercise their talents in America without hindrance, no restricting requirements unrelated to the task; he seeks their safety as youth that their childhood be full and unencumbered by fear or need; he desires the protection of his women, that they be honored and not overcome by the pressures of American society to seek the role of Jezebel, but that they honor their bodies and minds and grow in wisdom; he desires that his young men recognize their role to protect the family, making provision for the children, honoring the wife and mother, protecting all sisters both spiritually and physically and warding off all temptation to place any stumbling block in their way.

"He is now agreeable to your conditions, although he is not fully aware of breadth and scope. But as always, we can send back the Holy Spirit to instruct and assist him.

"Now if you'll just sign right here with my blood (as we planned before the foundation of the earth {Matthew 25:34}, I'll rush right back to administer the treaty, ensuring that all goes well as he learns and obeys."

As we face renewed problems in the U.S., we must continue to know that whatever the matter at hand we have a peacemaker with power. And more importantly, there is assistance for us as we do His will.

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