Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hope and Prayers for Children Missing in Nigeria

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Hope and Prayers for Children Missing in Nigeria

Article excerpt

I was sitting in a coffee shop recently, quietly having lunch and checking news stories on my smart phone. I was surrounded by young mothers with adorable babies, and grandparents having a meal out with their little grandchild. The scenes were happy exchanges of familial love, tenderness, and protection across the generations. What I saw made me happy, and reminded me, as headlines stared up at me from my mobile device, that thousands of children everywhere need our careful and thoughtful prayers.

The headlines and lead stories were horrific: teens in South Korea trapped in a capsized ferry, schoolgirls forcibly taken from their boarding school in Nigeria, and panicked relatives everywhere demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones from Asia to Africa. The gripping story to me, though, is the plight of the young girls kidnapped in Nigeria by forces that have terrorized areas of that country not only with their theme of Boko Haram, which translates "Western education is forbidden," but also with their ability to force communities into fear and submission. An editorial in The Christian Science Monitor spoke of the sense of hopelessness that has struck the families, and that these emotions can enable the terrorists to manipulate communities and populations until communities and leaders find a way out ("Finding Nigeria's missing girls," May 1).

A situation that brings fear, desperation, and a loss of hope cripples one's ability to think clearly. As I commonly do, I found myself turning to the Bible for solace and hope to pray for these dear girls and their country. The book of Psalms has led many people in times of trouble to find a calm perspective. A psalm states: "O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me" (7:1, New Revised Standard Version). And the previous psalm says: "O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love" (6:4). My coffee-shop moments were suddenly bathed in an aura of God's love for all His children.

Another image came to mind that led me to pray more diligently for the situation in Nigeria: the effect of darkness and despair that seems apparent when we see shadows. …

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