“But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” (Isaiah 49:25, King James Bible)
Almost two years ago, 276 people were kidnapped from their very beds, and forced at gunpoint into complete captivity. “Escorted” into the Sambisa Forest, these 276 young women, ages 16-18, were brought a fate one cannot imagine: one that is unimaginable, not only because of its horrific prospects, but because the Nigerian government has done little to nothing in officially reporting the young girls’ whereabouts. Because the government has lacked transparency in reporting any of their findings, news concerning the Chibok Girls is heartrendingly slow– if there is any, at all. The way the Nigerian government has handled the Chibok Girls’ kidnapping has shown the world it ultimately does not care. Though the truth of this crucial matter has not been given any of the time or attention it deserves by the Nigerian Government, it has unfortunately been surrounded in hearsay.
First reported as planned to be sold “in the market,” as slaves by Boko Haram, Boko Haram’s leader later claimed that the young women had been “married off” to members of Boko Haram– a form of slavery unto itself (source). Buhari has claimed these things as well, while also claiming it is possible that some of the women have died (source). With reports like these to stand on, it seems like those enslaved have no hope; they are “termed Forsaken” and “Desolate” (Isaiah 62:4, KJV). But to Christ, this is just not true.
Unfortunately, enslavement is nothing new, whatsoever: in fact, physical bondage has been prevalent in almost every culture, since the world began. Most slavery in the Old Testament time period included hard labor, and, at times, sexual slavery in the form of being a concubine or prostitute. Many use this to question the Goodness and Love of God. But, as pointed out in this commentary, Christ created laws for female prisoners of war/slaves such as Deuteronomy 21:10-14 not to encourage slavery, but rather to protect the slave’s inherent worth as a human being, in a world broken by sin, lust, and violence. Truly, Christ’s will for all of mankind was never to be treated as an object owned by a master, but as a precious soul, in a Personal Relationship with their Creator.
The same is true for today. The details may differ. But Jesus has never, nor will He ever, lose his heart for those suffering in bondage, enslavement, and captivity. In fact, Freeing people– spiritually, from their bondage to sin and death– was the reason He stepped down from His throne, into the darkness of the world. And, as believers in Christ, we are called to do the same.
After praying for what seemed like years on end–though they were only a few months– for the Chibok girls and their release, I honestly became apathetic, and, underneath it all, incredibly frustrated by the fact that Christ had not saved the girls of Chibok like I had prayed– in my way, and my timing. But, a few months earlier, in the summer of 2014, shortly after learning about what the Chibok girls’ kidnapping, I sat, seeking Christ in prayer and in His Word regarding the Chibok girls; and it was there that He first encouraged me with Isaiah 49:24-25.
“Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce? 25 But this is what the Lord says: ‘Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. 26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.'”
(Isaiah 49:24-26, NIV)
I burst into tears when I read this passage. The Chibok girls’ situation, from the world’s point of view, seems to only be able to end in disgrace. But from Christ’s point of view, there is always Hope.
So, almost two years later, there is still much to be done: there are still many voices to speak out for, and souls to pray for and over. April 7th, 2016 is the start of “THE GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION FOR THE CHIBOK GIRLS KIDNAPPING.” Will you join me, in advocating for– and most importantly, praying over and for the Chibok girls this coming week?
With Christ, NO ONE is a forgotten or lost case. And with Christ, all things are possible. In light of all this, let’s pray.
Do you know Jesus?
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort to all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oils of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
(Isaiah 61:1-3, NIV)
In Luke 4, Jesus is handed a scroll with this passage written on it. Reading it aloud, He proclaims that “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21, NIV).
Jesus came to save us, to heal us, and to restore us to Himself. Meet Him, and learn why, here.
Please pray for…
- The ignored, largely unreported 400 women and children kidnapped from Damasak a little over a year ago.
- People still in captivity– physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- The Global Week of Action.
- The quick return of the Chibok girls.