“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
“No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” (Isaiah 62:1-7)
In April of 2014, over 267 school girls from the town of Chibok, Nigeria were kidnapped by terrorists belonging to the Muslim jihadist fundamentalist group Boko Haram. Although news of their abduction was spread all over the media, it was not until 2 weeks later– after reading an earnest, heavy comment made by a sister in Nigeria on a devotional site called SheReadsTruth– that the Lord put these Chibok school girls on my heart. Not only did He put them on my heart, but He also put the spiritual state of Nigeria and the oppression of people in all nations heavily upon my heart in a way that I’ve never before experienced.
Seeking the Lord in prayer and the reading of His Word, He made it clear to me through Isaiah 49 and 62 that He has not turned a blind eye to this injustice. Rather, Christ promised to give those beautiful, beloved, valued girls a new NAME, a new IDENTITY— one not formed by their circumstances, but of profound renewal, redemption, and salvation from the Lord alone; and not only for every single one of the Chibok school girls, but for the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole!
The tragic, traumatizing, disgusting reality of sexual abuse, violence, and crimes of war seen every day no longer needs to define these girls, their families, the people of Nigeria, or any victim of social injustice.
In Christ’s name, their identity can be– IS– made completely new. From hopeless, ashamed, and silenced, to beloved, strengthened, healed, valued, cherished.
From Desolate, to Hephzibah: “My delight is in Her.” This is not to say Nigeria has replaced Israel in any way; these passages in Isaiah still directly correlate to the nation of Israel. But, those who have known, loved, and confessed Jesus Christ have been “grafted in” as “Children of Abraham”– more profoundly, as children of God (Romans 11:11-24; Galatians 3:26). Because of this, NOTHING is impossible; Because of this, “‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved'” (Romans 10:11-13).
Over a year and a half later, the Lord has moved in this calling. Approximately 50 young girls have escaped from these terrorists, but over 200 still remain missing. The purpose of this blog is to ensure that these 3 instructions the Lord placed upon my heart are forever lovingly followed:
1) To continue to pray for the girls’ safe release from these Boko Haram camps,
2) To continue to be updated/ update others on the state of this situation, the church of Nigeria, and Nigeria as a whole,
and 3) To, as Isaiah 62:6-7 states, advocate for the Chibok girls, as well as to encourage world-wide prayer for the state of Nigeria, the Church of Nigeria, and all of Nigeria’s kidnappees so that other believers may “have no rest, and give the Lord no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the Earth.”
Read my full story about Chibok here.