“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
(Proverbs 31:9, NIV)
It’s no surprise. The corruption found in Nigeria takes many forms; from church, to government, to the lives of Nigeria celebrities, this corruption can be seen everywhere.
And while children have always been caught up in this mix when speaking about the harm Boko Haram has done, I don’t believe I have not touched on the effects of such corruptness on the children involved in the warfare (aside from the Chibok girls being children at the time of their kidnapping).
In April of 2018, UNICEF reported that more than a 1,000 children have been kidnapped since 2014 (including the Chibok girls). This number has no doubt risen even more, with the kidnap of the Dapchi girls and the almost routine kidnap of children that happens where Boko Haram hideouts are close by. While what happens to each of these children cannot be known for sure, it is known that many of these kids (especially the boy child) are recruited into being child soldiers, while young girls could possibly become child slaves.
We can only horrifically imagine what being a child soldier or slave looks like. Little boys are given guns (source); meanwhile, little girls as young as 7 or 8 are raped, and/or used as human bombs (source). Sickening enough, the Nigerian military may be doing similar things (source).
While these kids are being subjected to unimaginable cruelty, the UN has reported that at least 304 children have been killed, while 184 have been maimed (source).
With all this being said, it reminds me of the suffering and death of children spoken about in Lamentations 4. It reads,
“How the gold has lost its luster,
the fine gold become dull!
The sacred gems are scattered
at every street corner.
2 How the precious children of Zion,
once worth their weight in gold,
are now considered as pots of clay,
the work of a potter’s hands!
3 Even jackals offer their breasts
to nurse their young,
but my people have become heartless
like ostriches in the desert.”
(Lamentations 4:1-3, NIV)
Ostriches actually do not care for their young in the slightest– they are left to themselves after hatching. This is the picture of the children in a broken down, destroyed nation; they need care and shelter, but have neither.
In Jesus’ day, children were not valued; but to Christ, they were immensely invaluable, and precious in His eyes.
Sadly, it is not much different than what has happened in the ravaged cities of Northern Nigeria. Today, some societies treat children the same way. Thousands upon thousands of these precious children are dying of hunger and thirst, just as Lamentations 4:4 describes. Unfortunately, these children were born into a world where there is much suffering. What can be done to allay it?
I can think of three things:
- Pray. Instead of leaving prayer for a last resort, it should be our first resort. Prayer is the most powerful thing one can do!
- Advocate. Many of these kids are falling through the cracks when it comes to their heartbreaking plight be recognized by the world. More people must know! The more people know, the more pressure for change there will be.
- Act. As mentioned in this post, while we may not be able to step into Northern Nigeria ourselves, we are doing an incredibly important job by providing financial resources for those who do. This resource on reputable charities has been created with this in mind.
These three things help make up the purpose of this blog– and I pray that they are useful and practical!
Jesus, the One who never turned away the children, but rather told the people “let these little ones come to me” (Mark 10:14), is the Sovereign God– and one day soon, the pain these precious little ones is facing will be removed, and every tear wiped away (Revelation 21:4). Until then, in light of the great gift of freedom we have been given in Christ, may we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves.
Do you know Jesus?
In a world where people could care less about children, Jesus valued them incredibly. Perhaps you feel all alone, or like no one cares about you.
Friend, you are loved and cared for more than you could ever know, by the God of the Universe. He proved His great Love by dying on the cross for your sins, personally. Learn more about Jesus, His Love, and why you need it, here.
Please pray for (you can find the prayer sheet for this blogpost, here):
- The thousands upon thousands of children being maimed, hurt, and killed on a daily basis; please pray that Christ would protect the children in Northern Nigeria, and other volatile areas.
- The parents of these children. No doubt, they feel pressured and hopeless. Pray that Christ would give them Hope and a means to support their children.
- The Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu. Pray they would come home, soon. You can find their names and pictures, here.
- A revival in Northern Nigeria. It is only in knowing Christ that this broken, corrupt country can be healed.
Thank you for your prayers!!!