Can I be honest for a moment? I have something I need to get off my chest.
I am wrestling with my heart to continue to write these blog posts for the girls in Northern Nigeria. I have wrestled with my flesh in writing them since the creation of this blog, caused by everything from dealing with some serious life issues to just purely being lazy. I found my heart growing apathetic and indifferent to the horrible plight of these girls again and again. Each time the Lord convicted me of a stubborn, cold heart, I found myself struggling to have a change of heart to where I would write for them again. It took God changing my heart through many huge life events– including a hospitalization at a mental institution– to make any real, lasting change. It was only when I realized that these girls have gone through some of the same feelings of terror, heartbreak, and loneliness that I have gone through that I realized the importance in writing these prayer updates. I am by no means claiming that I’ve gone through even a fraction of the terror and tragedy that these girls have gone through; rather, I am claiming that the terror I have felt has led me to realize the enormity of their terror, softening my heart to their plight.
Yet, I can feel the apathy and indifference creeping back into my heart, even as I write these words. It’s despicable. I desperately do not want to lose my heart for these girls again, though it can be so hard to remain passionate about their cause as time goes on. It ultimately comes down to obeying Christ, and when I seemingly squirm out of doing His will– making excuses not to write– I can feel Him putting it on my heart to write despite how I feel, out of obedience to Him.
In this, I find myself looking a lot like the prophet Jonah. Jonah squirmed away from obeying God’s call to tell the Ninevites to repent, because he was (I believe) afraid of and filled with hate for the Ninevites (you can read the 4-chapter story of Jonah here). Though Jonah tried to run from God, it didn’t work; God’s love for us is relentless, and He pursued Jonah, even into the belly of a big fish. In the same way, God’s love chased and found me at my lowest low, as a patient in a mental hospital. Though this hospitalization differs from Jonah’s story in that I wasn’t hospitalized for disobeying God, it is the same in that at the hospital, my heart was softened towards doing God’s will in writing for the girls– as Jonah’s was softened for doing God’s will warning the Ninevites. I run from God’s call on my life to write these posts time and again– and time after time, Christ lavishes me with the grace to come back and write these posts, after repenting of my apathetic, selfish ways. Praise Him for such grace!
Even through all of this, I can feel myself squirming against God’s will again, my flesh warring with writing posts for these girls. I need to do God’s will; yet, everything in me wants to stop writing these posts in favor of laziness. I’ve learned that these posts are (as God’s will always truly is, in some way or another) actually helping me to stay busy, but in the end, it needs to be out of love for the people of Nigeria and obedience towards God that I write these posts. I feel horrible, convicted.
Jesus, please change my heart for writing these posts. Change my heart towards the plight of these women and girls. Help me to rediscover the passion with which I first had for this blog, and show me in a whole new way the need for these blog posts to be made.
Thousands of people have been displaced. Hundreds of girls have been kidnapped, with rape and being “married off” as their fate for the time being. Countless families have been ripped to pieces by barbaric violence in the name of Allah. These hurting, weary, heartbroken people are loved and seen as precious by the Lord my God. When I refuse to write these posts, I am not only disobeying God; I am refusing to humble myself for those who need to know that others have not forgotten them. Jesus, forgive me! Thank you for your grace and mercy in the face of such an evil heart!
Christ doesn’t need my help– our help– to make sure that these girls aren’t forgotten. This idea is seen in Isaiah:
“I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me.“ (Isaiah 63:5, NLT)
Christ Himself is near to those girls, heartbroken and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, NIV). He doesn’t need us humans for His will to be done on Earth, just as He doesn’t need us for plants to grow, as seen with wild flora and fauna. Instead, He uses us to plant and water because doing these things changes us just as much as it changes those we affect. This truth is found in 1 Corinthians 3:
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7, NIV)
The God who makes all things grow wants to grow us, through our obedience to Him. Because of all these things, it is incredibly important to obey Christ, though He gives us grace even when we don’t obey Him. His grace is for us to be sanctified, not for us to have free license to do whatever we’d like (Romans 6:1-2, NIV).
Jesus, you don’t want long blog posts. You want a heart, sanctified by Your grace. All you ever wanted was my heart. Take it; fill it with compassion for Your people, as only You can.
Please pray that I’d continue to write these posts with conviction and zeal for the people of Nigeria. They aren’t just a cause; they are real people, loved by a mighty God. Pray I’d do them justice in all my writing for them. Pray it’d be done with compassion and love for the kidnapped girls and their families, no matter how much time has passed since they were abducted.
These girls matter. Pray I’d keep writing with this in mind. Because, truly, Christ forgets none of His broken, hurting people. I pray we wouldn’t, either.