“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.”
(Job 13:15, NKJV)
As of March 14th, 2015, it has been 11 months since 217 girls from Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from their boarding school in April. Since then, US air surveillance has combed the areas that allegedly hold the school girls, providing little to no information on their wellbeing– and Boko Haram’s leader, Abubukar Shekau, has claimed that the schoolgirls have been “married off” to the insurgents. Hundreds of people, held in captivity by Boko Haram, have been freed or have escaped; yet, hundreds, maybe even thousands, still remain in captivity.
Behind every one of these kidnapping victims lies a family and a host of friends, a network of loved ones, that have watched and waited for any sign of hope for these girls’ release. Reverend Enoch Mark is among these many heartbroken, despondent people. As two of his daughters are apart of the 217 Chibok schoolgirls still missing, Mark has become a spokesperson for the girls’ parents, those most deeply affected by the girls’ kidnapping. In passionate, loving zeal for his daughters and their classmates, Mark has also become a compassionate and comforting, ceaseless protester and worker for their release, as apart of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Written with Love and led by Jesus, below is a letter to Enoch Mark– and the parents like him.
Reverend Enoch Mark,
We have never met each other, and we probably never will. I live over 7,000 miles away from you– and, because of that gap in location and culture, my life may look shockingly different from the one you live on a day to day basis. I have no idea of how daily life looks in Borno State, or in Nigeria in general. Born and raised in America, I have never seen even a glimpse of what you and those around you live through each day.
Neither will I ever claim to know such a deep tragedy as the one you are experiencing. Being a daughter to a very loving, Godly, attentive father, just imagining the heartache, anxiety, and profound grief that you and those around you feel is extremely difficult to even fathom– more difficult than words could ever describe.
I do not claim to know you. I do not know your pain, and I could not even begin to try to know what exactly Christ is doing in your life.
One of the songs we sing in church goes, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.” Jesus has done just that. Led by the Holy Spirit, all I can manage to do when I read of what is happening in your world is cry– and pray. My brother, I write this letter spurred on by Love, wanting to let you know that though no human being has any answer for why you’re in this deep, dark pit, Jesus has called me– and I’m sure countless others all over this planet– to Love you, your family, and your people as you go through this agonizing valley of fear, of death, of dying. We will walk through the valley with you, calling on our God, “Hosanna: Save now.” He has called me to let you know that He has not forgotten you– and He has many people in this world who will not forget you either, though it may seem like it.
None of us know why. But brother, I urge you and your loved ones to remember and hold on to the one thing you do know: God mighty to save, is sovereign over all, and loves you perfectly. We may not know, but He knows exactly why this is happening– and He has a real purpose for all of it.
And ultimately, He will see you through.
Trust in Him. We love you.
You are always in our prayers.
Your sister in Christ, forever,
“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.
When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.
Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”
(Job 2:11-13, NIV)
Christ has called us to be broken for what breaks others. To mourn with those who mourn, to remember those in chains as if we ourselves were in chains, too (Romans 12:15, NIV; Hebrews 13:3 KJV).
We may not have the right words to say, or the answers for the honest, hard questions.
But sometimes, “right words” or perfectly thought out “answers” are useless– sometimes, all we can do is just be there.
Sometimes, all we can do is love them through it. To just sit with them, cry with them, pray with them, just be with them—
and let them know that no matter what, the One who loves them most is alive– and still loves them– even here.
Please, be praying for our brothers and sisters caught in the senseless, dark violence that is terrorism, both near and abroad.
Be praying for our brothers and sisters who are experiencing the nightmare of living without their loved ones– both in grief, and in worry. Pray they would know that Christ is near. Pray His love would strengthen and calm their hearts.
More than anything, be praying (as always) that the sons and daughters of these dispirited people, who are held captive, would, in God’s will and timing, return safely to the free world– and their loved ones– soon.
“For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
(Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)
May they all feel and know this soon.
Do you know Jesus?
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. …We love because he first loved us.”
(1 John 4:17, 19, NIV)
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
(1 John 4:10, NIV)
You may have heard it before: “God is love.” Yet, this Truth often feels false– in a world of fear, of death, of selfishness and heartbreak, nothing could feel further from the truth. If God is a God of Love, why is there suffering in the world? How can God be a God who is both supremely Loving and supremely Just?
To find the answer, we must look at the Cross– more essentially, at the One who hung on it.
Read more here.