Was God in Tahrir Square? Of course, God was there as the one in whom all creatures "live and move and have their being", but was he there directing, through his mysterious providence, the events that led to the Egyptian Revolution? I suspect most Western Christians will bide their time answering that question, waiting to see what transpires as Egypt, particularly to the long-suffering Egyptian Christians. But we must not neglect to factor into our thinking the many places in the Bible which declare that God is, in a sense, Lord of all nations and the decider of their fates, for good or ill; verses such as Psalm 22:28, to cite just one example (take up and read!), and those which teach that that all things happen according to God's good purposes.
One factor in the Revolution that might point towards the presence of God in Tahrir Square is the advent of a moderate and tolerant form of Islam promoted by Egyptian clerics through television programs. Yes, it's the Muslim equivalent of US televangelists, and like the American versions thereof, they have garnered considerable popularity and political influence. It was evidently these popular figures who provided much of the moral support to the youth who spearheaded the revolution. We can only hope then that their intentions really are as benevolent as is claimed by their supporters - of this more below, but first a digression.
Western history teaches us that the liberty and tolerance that enabled modern representative democracies to develop and thrive was underpinned by solid Christian convictions. Western society is now facing a reversal of its fortuens precisely because, I would argue, that religious foundation is being systematically broken up. I would also argue that if Middle-Eastern societies are to thrive as free and democratic societies, then a moderate and tolerant form of Islam needs to appear to provide a religious ethos that supports democracy.
Perhaps the advent of the Egyptian Muslim televangelists, with their so-far benevolent attitude towards the Christians in their midst, is evidence of just such a movement? Not that God approves of their theology, mind you, but could he not use them to further his own purposes to bless the Egyptian people with "1st article of the Creed" gifts, while at the same time creating a more hospitable environment for the many Christians there? It's an intriguing prospect. God's ways are indeed mysterious, as Cowper's hymn reminds us: "He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sovereign will". And he does so in ways which we, often as not, don't see coming.
Click on the post title to read an article by an insider arguing that God was indeed in Tahrir Square, and follow events with interest and prayers for our Egyptian Christian brothers and sisters. Let's hope for their sake the report is not overly optimistic.