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Witness to horror

Jesus wants more of his followers to see the world’s pain, horrible though it may be. This is not a happy thing for most of us. It produces a sense of dissonance in us since we want to maintain a safe distance, yet we have something perverse in us that is drawn to scenes of horror.   …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Jesus wants more of his followers to see the world’s pain, horrible though it may be. This is not a happy thing for most of us. It produces a sense of dissonance in us since we want to maintain a safe distance, yet we have something perverse in us that is drawn to scenes of horror.
 
Jesus called us to be witnesses in the whole earth (Acts 1:8). He asked Paul to be a witness of “what I will show you” (Acts 26:16). When we read a passage like that, somehow it gets translated as “go share a canned testimony.”
 
I think the real translation is to go to places of suffering and death like Jos, Nigeria as Jamie Neumann did and somehow bring Jesus into the midst of the pain. Listen to what she witnessed:
 
Could
you imagine
waking up to gunshots? 

Your wife and children running outside

of your home to see what
was going on,

getting caught in a trap,

and then being brutally killed

because of a
vengeance between people groups

yet your wife and children were completely innocent? 

You then look up and the church you pastor
is
completely engulfed in flames?

This is
the reality of one man we met.

Could
you imagine
waking up to rebels coming to burn down all the Christian homes,
businesses, and churches in your entire village?

Could you imagine being the
one who decided to leave his
home with his brother and sister to protect
the church from being burnt down, looking back and seeing your own home on fire, completely
destroyed? 

This is the reality
of one man we met.

Could
you imagine
being the head of a village
 
of over 500 people

and waking up to your home on
fire?

Could
you imagine
leaving your home

and seeing your
entire village

being
surrounded, burnt, and massacred?

Could you image being the head
of a village

and not only losing 250 villagers

but also 10 of your own children
and 4 of your own grandchildren?
  This is the reality of one man we met.

Could
you imagine

waking up to multiple

armed men in your room

who
not only cut off your nose

and
severely slashed your arm,


but they also killed your mother


and
sister

who are in the
same room as you? 

Could you imagine

being 20 years old and
being the only survivor
of
your family?
  

This is the reality of one
girl we met.

    Could you even begin to imagine,
because I can’t.
  Even being here amongst these villagers, I cannot even pretend to relate with them. 
But these stories are the harsh reality of the villages of
Nigeria who have been affected by the senseless
tragedies
that have occurred recently.

    Each of the
stories of the people that we met today have been different and each
have been affected in different ways, but one thing unites them all… hope.  Each and
every one of them embraces hope and will not
stand for fighting any longer.
  Some of these people we have met
that have lost everything and
still have even gone to neighboring villages to see how they can help
out.

Men are rebuilding each other’s homes, women are taking in
children, and children are singing songs of joy to their creator.  Hope, joy, and peace
is what these villagers are now claiming!
 

    Could you imagine,
despite hardships such as the ones of these experienced by these
amazing people, claiming the hope of Christ?  I know, now I can.  For God works everything for good. 
Jos will be a place looked up to across history for their hope in Christ
and stand for peace.

Comments (4)

  • Wow, that’s intense stuff. No, I can’t imagine…but there response is what community is all about. The courage and faith to be able to love and have hope after all they’ve been through…what an example!

  • I have been learning in life that there must be a “holy state of discontent” where we realize God is more interested in our character than our comfort. Thanks for being a tool for that this morning.

  • I can’t imagine…but I somehow can grasp, just barely, through suffering like this when I think of Jesus, that this is why Christianity is spreading in areas of the world where there is suffering. Comfortable complacency is not what Jesus died for.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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