The year was 1967. The host country was Nigeria. The event was a meeting of African church leaders who had gathered to seek the heart of God on behalf of their young but troubled continent.
For you see, although they should have been celebrating ten years since the independence of Ghana ushered in the era of freedom for our continent, they knew that there was little to celebrate. There was trouble and upheaval, coups and assassinations - Nkruma had been overthrown, Lumumba had been murdered and apartheid had become entrenched in South Africa as Mandela languished on a godforsaken island from which he might never return.
Whither the beloved continent?
In the midst of these gathering clouds of gloom, God spoke. He gave the assembled church leaders a simple prophecy, 'Sing for joy, O Africa, the Lord your God is risen upon you.'
They returned home holding precariously onto these words, not fully understanding what they meant, but rejoicing in the fact that, though the darkness remained, they knew that God's word does not return to Him void. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Well, much has happened since that gathering of church leaders took place in Nigeria. There is still much upheaval on our beloved continent. But if you peer into the horizon, you can see the signs of that promised new dawn beginning to break. Our dark days of despair are giving way to our season of hope.
Our weeping has lasted for the night. Behold, our joy comes. For our long awaited morning is just about to break.