Please pray for a woman I know who has had bacterial meningitis and was very, very sick. Thank you.
It was with a heavy heart that I read about what happened to the synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday. 11 people killed, and six people wounded—all for coming to worship. Continue reading
On May 11th, an article by CNN was posted that shed light on something very important happening to the freed “Chibok girls”: their healing.
According to CNN, who had a “rare glimpse” inside the Chibok girls’ recovery, the now 106 young women are living in a government-owned building that is much like a hostel or boarding school for the girls, along with an on-sight psychiatrist, psychologist, a social worker, and two matrons, “one of whom is from Chibok” (source). The girls have a scheduled, yet somewhat normal lifestyle that involves taking educational and lifestyle courses, playing handball with the other girls, and scheduled times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “I remember vividly when they were first released, they had symptoms of PTSD, nightmares, insomnia. The girls are doing very well,” CNN reported their psychologist saying, while noting that he said they have made “tremendous improvement” (source). Yet, throughout all of this, there is still healing to be had; shrapnel still lives uncovered in the girls’ bodies, and surely, emotional, spiritual, and mental shrapnel lay hidden in them, too.
But, most of all, these girls, contrary to what was thought earlier, are reportedly not there against their own will or against the will of their parents. “Parents have been to visit them here. They gave government consent for them to be here. …We did not compel anybody,” says Nigeria’s women’s minister Aisha Alhassan, according to CNN (source). With such resources, the idea of the Chibok schoolgirls– now Chibok’s young women– finding lives of normalcy and wholeness seem possible.
The steward of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, and surely others, have been praying for the Chibok young women’s healing for quite some time, and it was a breath of fresh air to gain insight on this beautiful, yet bittersweet process. Although this is wonderful, it is all too important to truly consider that real healing comes from Christ—knowing Him, and being known by Him.
A Story of Emotional Healing
In the book of Genesis, chapters 37-50 tell the biblical account of Joseph, Jacob (also known as Israel’s) son. In it, Joseph has dreams of his brothers, father and mother bowing before him; he also is extremely favored by his father, so much so that he receives a beautiful, ornate robe to wear (Genesis 37:1-3, 5-11). This jealousy not only creates tension between Jacob and the rest of his sons; it causes his other sons to be murderous with jealousy toward Joseph (Genesis 37:4).
As written in Genesis 37:12- 28, incredibly envious and full of rage toward Joseph, Joseph’s brothers want to plot his death, but decide instead to put him in an empty cistern, and further sell him into slavery– human trafficking. Lying to their father, they brought Joseph’s coat dipped in goat blood, claiming an animal had killed him (Genesis 37:31-32).
Taken into an entirely new land against his own will, Joseph undergoes much heartbreak: from going to jail because of doing the right thing (Genesis 39), to being forgotten in that jail for a long period of time (Genesis 40:23), what his own flesh and blood brothers did to him hurt him in unimaginable ways.
What could have been seen as impossible for Joseph under such circumstances, Joseph not only came to fully forgive his brothers; but every relationship they ever had with him was restored, so much so that He “reassured them” of the fact that he would never repay their wrongs with evil, and “spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:21, NIV). This is not even to mention the fact that Jacob was able to see his son, Joseph again, after believing he was dead for so many years!
Under such horrific circumstances, what could have ever healed Joseph’s heart so wholly? Through the weeping (Genesis 42:24; 43:30; 45:1; 50:17), the anger, and finally, the telling of the truth, Joseph and his brothers were reconciled by nothing less than the grace and goodness of Christ. Each step of the arduous way, Christ was there—ready to provide the Peace Joseph and his family needed, and ready to bring good out of the evil sin that his brothers committed.
This is the true, and only, Hope for anyone who has undergone heartbreak and trauma, including the Chibok girls. Joseph, having gone through such deep brokenness, realized and saw the fact that Jesus wants to heal and mend what is fractured and torn. All one needs to do is seek Him, allowing His Will to be done, not their own (Psalm 34:14).
So, no matter how deep the trauma, or wide the pain, there is Hope in Christ alone. Let’s trust Him– it is His Will that we would have life, and life abundantly, and only He can make it so.
Do you know Jesus?
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
(John 10:10, NKJV)
2,000 years ago, God stepped off his throne, and came into the world, putting on human flesh. His name is Jesus the Christ, and He came that we might have real, abundant life. That does not just mean real abundance here on earth, but rather, eternal life with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, in heaven.
His body was scarred so that we might be healed. Read more about Him, and meet Him, here.
Please pray for…
– The Chibok girls who have been freed. As it has been said before, these girls are just starting a lifetime’s journey of healing, and prayers that Christ would be their Lord and Savior on this journey would be appreciated.
– The Nigerian government. Please pray that as more of the girls are being negotiated for, Christ would be Lord over those negotiating with terrorists, and that His Will would be done,
not our own.
– The rescue, and de-radicalization of girls who do not want to be free. As stated in another post, there are reportedly four Chibok schoolgirls who do not want to be released. Please pray in Jesus’ Name that they would realize their need for Christ—and for freedom.
Quite recently, Cameroonian soldiers were able to rescue hundreds of men, women, and children during a raid on the town of Achigachia in March of 2016. As streams of these people– after months, even years of captivity– are leaving the brush and forests that entrapped them, they horrifically may not have visible wounds, but are leaving with deep, traumatic scars that can bind them for life (source).
This rescue is something to truly celebrate; and this victory should not be downplayed, whatsoever. Yet, while the physical freedom of hundreds has been won, there remains unfathomable spiritual bondage for each and every one of them: trauma from extreme violence; ruthless religious persecution for those who refused to give up their faith in Christ; sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse; and horrific physical damage to their bodies and minds. Sadly, this is only the beginning of the reasons for the profound damage done to their souls. Yet, even in the midst of this unimaginable pain, there is hope for healing. Continue reading
The Nigerian military’s gunshots sounded like salvation. Like the sunrise after a stormy night, The gunshots and news of a quickly advancing group of soldiers filled captives in the Boko Haram camp with a mixture of confusion and fear, but most of all, joy– as Boko Haram terrorists were quickly sapped of their power and, in turn, their captives were filled with the strength to move. These captives, mainly women with children (both born and “adopted” alike, as many are orphans), had what only could’ve been divine strength as they boarded packed rescue vehicles or carried their malnourished children, walking in the military’s tire tracks. Continue reading
As of today, January 21st, 18 days have passed since the town of Baga, Nigeria was razed, where 2,000 of it’s innocent men, women, and children were mercilessly massacred. As Boko Haram’s bloodiest raid to date, most of its victims were women, children, and the elderly who could not escape the terrorists’ rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles. As people ran, swam, and hid for their lives, thousands upon thousands drowned in nearby Lake Chad, where the body count was so high that soldiers stopped counting.
As discussed in this article, the Chibok girls’ abduction has become a symbol of fundamentalist Islam’s fear of educating women. This fear stems from the fact that educated women are harder to control– and in a religion like Islam, where it’s success is based upon how much oppressive control it has on it’s people– the idea of women being less dependent upon the controlling men in their lives is hugely threatening. Continue reading
As I read this article, my heart went out to those who have escaped the hands of the Boko Haram, but who have not yet escaped the clutches of fear, horrific flashbacks, and evil memories.
These girls need to be truly free; they need to live lives void of the fear of such a terrifying experience as being in captivity. Christ speaks of such a life in John 10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)
This kind of life can only be found in knowing Christ. Christ doesn’t want to be apart of one’s life; He wants to change people’s whole lives and identities. Where there was once bondage to sin, shame, and death, He wants to grant true, light, victorious freedom to His people– He wants sons, not slaves.
“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36, NIV)
As stated above, it is only in Christ that these young women can be free. It is only in and through faith in Christ that these girls’ traumatizing experiences can be healed, and their lives restored. But, what happens when this doesn’t happen quickly, but over painstaking amounts of time? What happens when everything in the world makes it look like Christ is not at work?
We must, after everything, put on the armor of God and stand firm, as Ephesians 6:13 exhorts. We must remember that Christ’s timing is not our timing (2 Peter 3:9), and that “…there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him” (Ecclesiastes 8:6, “for” omitted). Yet, in the midst of all this standing and persevering, it’s even more important to remember that Christ is a compassionate God who considers His people His friends: “Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b, NIV). Knowing that we are God’s friends allows us to “cast all [our] anxiety on Him, for He cares on us” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Truly, these girls do not need to be heavy laden. In Christ, the burdens of their painful past can be lifted. In Christ, they can find true rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
It is also important to remember that Christ sees their burdens, whether they bring them to Him or not. The same kind of distress these people have experienced was experienced by Israel during their exile in Babylon. Israel was destroyed; their walls were in shambles, and the people were in Babylonian captivity. During such times of loss, it was almost impossible to keep in mind that Christ was for His children, and knew their plight. Yet, these very truths were all affirmed in Isaiah 49:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your (ruined) walls are ever before me.” (Isaiah 49:15-16, “ruined” mine)
The girls who are now in physical freedom must be free spiritually, mentally, and emotionally by Christ from the bondage of their past terrifying experiences. They need to know that just like Israel, they have not been forgotten– and that Christ is near to them during such horrible times. These girls need to find rest in the arms of Jesus, both inside and outside captivity. For these reasons, we pray.
Please pray for these beautiful people, that as they continue on in their normal everyday lives, that the Lord would show Himself to them through any and all means, that they may know Him. Pray that as they know Him– and only as they know Him– their minds and hearts would slowly (but quite surely) be healed of the trauma they’ve experienced. Pray that as they continue to seek the Lord, He’d use these horrible experiences for good, as He has promised:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)
Amongst these things, also pray that the men, women, girls and boys still in captivity would be used to bring their captors to Christ, and would be favorably treated while in captivity. Pray that they’d be out of captivity, and back with their families, soon.
Let the restoration, strengthening, and healing of these beautiful, invaluable hearts and minds begin.