“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV)
I am happy to report that on February 10th, 2017, two professors and one person who was a driver for the University of Maiduguri were released from Boko Haram captivity, as well as ten women who were taken captive by Boko Haram in July of 2017!!!
I can only imagine it… the taste of freedom, breathing the air with free lungs– looking up at the sun and moon and knowing that you– at least, not physically– are no longer in a place of darkness and fear.
It is always beautiful, good news to hear that someone has been set free. It is a sigh of relief, a smile on the face; sweet tears streaming down the cheeks, and a heart bursting with Joy.
Friends, on the eve of Valentine’s Day 2018, this is what happened to me. Weighed down with a seemingly unexplained heaviness, full of anger and a pride that said “I deserve God’s Love and Acceptance because I’m doing x, y, and z,” I went to a Bible study from Lysa TerKeurst about how Jesus is the Water of Life. About how He decided to go into “enemy terrority”– as God, becoming human flesh, and then as a Jew, heading into Samaria (the land of the Jew’s enemies, the Samaritans), just so that He could tell one woman that He was the One her heart had been waiting for (John 4). How did I come out of this Bible study? Filled with the sense that Jesus, just as He spoke to this unloved woman, wanted to speak to me.
I realized things about myself that were hidden deep— things I had not thought about or let myself feel for years. Through tears, cries, and a profound leading of the Holy Spirit, the lies that had caused my heart to grow cold with fear and legalism were replaced with Truth: that I am not under Jesus’ wrath. That the deep pain my own sin caused years ago was nailed to the cross at Calvary. That I am free.
And so I write this today, looking at the physical freedom these people have– and am truly blessed to know that our God delights in setting people free.
As the wonderful Lysa Terkeurst has said, “[Jesus] is a God who knows women, and who knows trauma.” And as I look at this blog, I see this as a Truth that has been proven time and time again! He is our Rescuer, a God of Order, compassionately passionate about each and every person who has ever lived. And He reaches out to each and every one of us.
As we celebrate the fact that 13 people were set free from the violent, bounding, fearful captivity of Boko Haram– and the dead religious system it belongs to, let us not also forget those who still need to become free: the remaining 112 young women, held captive for simply going to school.
It has been reported that these Chibok girls are being negotiated for, and this shred of seemingly solid, trusty news fills my heart with a ray of Hope– a ray of Hope that not all is lost, that maybe not everything (like the video from Boko Haram) is what it seems, and most of all, that Jesus– this God who sets people free– is above it all. I have no idea of what He’s doing, or how He’s doing it. All I know is that HE IS.
And no matter what happens– through the Joy, or through the pain– I know who He is, and I trust Him; and that is all I need to know.
I leave you with this question: Where are you in your relationship with Jesus? Where have you kept the Lord out of, for way too long? He will shed His Light upon it. But it is not to shame you; it is to free you. Invite Him in, today; rest in the Truth that you are set free.
This blog post is dedicated to the 17 people senselessly killed by a mass school shooter in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018. May Jesus be with these people and guide the country forward.
Do you know Jesus?
Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus stepped down from a perfect, painless existence in heaven, enjoying unhindered fellowship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, to live in a sin-filled, wicked world, and to die in the most excruciating way possible. The crazy part of all of this? Jesus, God in human flesh, did it FREELY– He had all of the freedom in the world, and yet He CHOSE to die, under the wrath and punishment of God, and bearing every mistake and sin we have ever made (1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:6; Hebrews 10:8-9).
For you. For me. Personally.
So that we would never have to.
Because He Loves you.
Learn more about this wonderful God, His Love for you, and what it all means, here.
Prayer Requests (print out a “Prayer Points” sheet here):
- Praise Jesus for the AMAZING work He is doing– the work that we can see, and the work that we can’t see!
- Please pray for all of the Chibok girls; that Jesus would help those who are still reeling from being taken out of captivity, and for those who are still in captivity.
- That Jesus would FREE those who are stuck in darkness– that all those in Northeast Nigeria, including even Boko Haram, would come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
- That those affected by the evil mass shooting that occurred on February 14th, 2018 would come to know Jesus Christ through it– and that Jesus would lead our leaders to make wise decisions to protect people from a tragedy like this.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
(Colossians 1:13-14, NLT)
Thank you for your prayers!!!