Twenty-one. Twenty-one people, no longer on this earth. It was reported Monday that because of Boko Haram violence, twenty-one people lost their lives1. Whether shot, or blown up by a landmine, these are people who will never see the light of day on earth, ever again.
This has been a bigger count of deaths than what I have read in a long time. Reports of terrorist attacks in Northern Nigeria have slowed down considerably—but I wonder if that is only because people are tired of reporting such bleak news. I know the difficulty of doing so.
But, I am reminded of the Truth I spoke of yesterday: that I must stand– that all of us must stand– not on good circumstances, but on who Jesus Christ is.
I found a note I wrote during one of my times with the Lord, and it references how God told Abraham that he had to sacrifice his own son. (Of course, God did not let Abraham go through with it; it was a test of Abraham’s faith. God hates human sacrifice.)
If you want to read the story in the Bible, you can find it here. But, as Abraham and Isaac climbed Mount Moriah, and Isaac, Abraham’s son, asks his father where the animal to be sacrificed is, no one could ever possibly imagine the anguish Abraham must felt, as he looked at his beloved, soon-to-be sacrificed son.
But Abraham, knowing God’s promises, looked to God instead. God promised him that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5). Knowing that God does not change, Abraham concluded that if he was to kill Isaac, Isaac would have to be risen from that grave.
An Angel came and intervened at the last second before Abraham killed Isaac; and God provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice, forever calling that mountain, “God will Provide” (Genesis 22:14). But there is more to be said here. The mountain that Abraham and Isaac climbed? It is the same mountain Jesus Christ climbed—the very mountain upon which He was crucified.
The prospect of Isaac dying and then coming back to life? Eerily similar to Jesus’ death and resurrection—but not without reason.
Isaac was a type of Christ; the very thing God told Abraham to do was going to be the very thing God the Father did with God the Son, Jesus Christ. The name of this mountain, “The Lord Provides,” was completely fulfilled as Jesus Christ, thousands of years later, hung upon that cross. He fulfilled all that was needed and necessary for salvation.
And so, I look at my life, now. If God promised that He would provide salvation—and He kept such a costly promise—how can I not look to Him, and trust in Him, for my whole life (and with the lives of those I am praying for)?
As Abraham faced such a horrific circumstance, he looked to God—and put his own faith, hope, and trust in God and His promises alone.
The bottom line is this: instead of rushing ahead and taking things into our own hands, or instead of wallowing in self-pity and despair as spoken of yesterday, Christ would have us look to Him, keep our eyes upon Him, and trust in Him— and believe that He is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper.
What I read today in the devotional book, Jesus Calling, only confirmed this message. It is a book written by a woman named Sarah Young, written from the perspective of Jesus to the reader. Her words are not the actual words of God, of course. But many times, tied to scripture, they are a huge encouragement. She says, “Make Me your focal point as you move through this day. …Look to Me, refreshing yourself in My Presence, and your steps will be steady and sure”2.
As said before, looking to Jesus is crucial if we ever desire to be victorious and joy-filled, even in our pain, loss, trial, and confusion. So, as we pray for breakthrough in the lives of these girls—and, perhaps, for breakthrough in our lives, as well—let’s look up, and rest in His Promise: He will provide.
Do you know Jesus?
Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfills numerous Old Testament prophecies; you can find many of them, here. Think about this: Jesus, God the Son, coming to earth in the flesh, is proof of God’s faithfulness. Because of what Jesus did, we can trust in Him fully, and nothing else, to take away our sin and the separation from God it brings. Learn more about this God, and what He did for you, here.
Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for it, here):
- Those who are now grieving their loved ones in Northern Nigeria—for the countless people forever affected by Boko Haram violence.
- For the Nigerian army. Please pray that they would have favor from Christ and would be able to stomp out Boko Haram.
- For the Chibok girls, including Leah Sharibu. Please pray that they would know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and would be freed, soon. You can find their names and pictures, here.
- For Boko Haram members to be saved. May they come to know Christ and repent of their ways.
Thank you for your prayers!!!
2 Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young, pg. 120.