“All my country has lost, because of what he is doing,” says a man from Maiduguri.
He is talking about his son, a man who is currently addicted to the painkiller Tramadol. Heartbreakingly, his addiction is not uncommon in Northern Nigeria. In a surprising, revealing article by BBC News, it was learned that many people have become addicted to Tramadol. From Boko Haram fighters, to their opponents in vigilante groups, to those being displaced, many people are addicted to the painkiller. No matter whose side of the fight one is on, people are being consumed by the epidemic.
It’s no surprise that some people are taking it to “get away” from the pain they feel on a daily basis. According to a doctor being interviewed by BBC, patients have said, “What else can we do? We just want to get out of the world.” And who could honestly blame them? Many, if not all, have had incredibly traumatic experiences with Boko Haram and other corruption found in Nigeria. Some have seen their loved ones shot or massacred by knife; others have undergone rape, or have been forced to kill others.
These are things most people will never have to face—and praise Jesus for that. But what is supposed to be done for these people, crumbling underneath the trauma, guilt, and shame of what they have gone through? Pain medications can only go so far; they take away the pain, but do not treat the root issue.
There aren’t enough counselors and psychiatrists for the mass of people living such broken lives, just as there are not enough homes to house the millions of people who have been displaced.
I do not have all the answers, but I know that one thing can be done, in searching out how to help these men, women, and children: prayer. It is not the only thing that can, or should, be done; but it is the first thing to do.
You heard me– it is the first, not the last– thing to do. In praying for these incredibly broken people, may Jesus show, move, and guide us into what can be done practically to help, heal, and bless those going through so much.
Only Jesus can save and transform these lives. Let’s lift them up to Him, shall we?
“Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for these people. Thank You for keeping them alive, breath after breath. Thank You for seeing them, protecting them, and blessing them with another day to live.
Father, You know more than I do that many of these people do not want to live—or, at least, they don’t want to live the life they are currently living, now. We pray over all those who are currently taking tramadol, or are numbing themselves with other medications and substances.
We pray, in the powerful, mighty Name of Jesus, that You would work and move powerfully amidst those hurting most; please break their chains of fear and reliance upon substances that only treat the symptoms, not the core. We pray for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healthcare in these lands, and we pray that You would bring the relief, freedom, and victory in these people’s lives that only You can bring.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,
If any of you readers have insight, wisdom, or good ideas on how we can further bless those in such pain, please let me know via email or in the comments below. Any ideas about how to help these people would be appreciated!
Do you know Jesus?
3,000 years ago, God Himself decided, not to keep us dirty humans out at arm’s length, but to enter into our world—and die for all of humanity.
As we nailed His Hands and Feet to the cross, He willingly chose to die for You and for me, so that we might become close to Him and receive the eternal, abundant Life that only He can give.
Learn more about the God who steps into our brokenness, and offers the only remedy for it, here.
Please continue to pray for (you can find the prayer sheet, here):
- Those currently abusing drugs in Nigeria. This is a worldwide problem; please pray for all those abusing drugs, and specifically those in Northern Nigeria.
- Those displaced and traumatized by Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen violence. May Jesus heal and make them whole.
- The Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. Pray for Leah’s mother, Rebecca, as well. Find the girls’ names and pictures, here.
- For Jesus to come soon. We need You, Lord Jesus!
Thank you for your prayers and support.