On 15 April, two hundred and thirty precious young girls were abducted from school to satisfy the evil desires and objectives of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. At the time of writing it appeared that these girls had likely been sold as slaves.
Can we imagine the families’ horror and grief, their frantic efforts to find their girls, while the government has been slow to react? If we let ourselves we can imagine - and we should, because it is the voices of the people that motivate leaders to action. International social media campaigns have spread awareness and, perhaps inspired by these campaigns, many countries, including New Zealand, have offered help, placing pressure on the Nigerian Government to search for the girls. Nigeria’s delays however may have already led to great suffering.
This raises the question – if the girls were Christians, attending Christian schools (see the Robin Harris’ blog in the spectator.co.uk.), why then did God allow this terrible thing to happen? The short answer is that there is great evil in the world, but also great good and we can be reassured that “God works to turn all things for good for those who love him” Romans 8:28. Already we can see some good as the religious war and political corruption in Nigeria are being exposed to international attention. Maybe the issue of slavery – 27 million people, largely women and children, are enslaved in the world – will be addressed. And maybe we will one day hear individual stories of strength, comfort, renewed faith to come out of the situation.
In the meantime what can we do? We can lobby our Government to continue to place pressure on Nigeria to commit to finding the girls. We can pray that the girls and their families will find their strength and comfort in God. We can pray for, and campaign for, an end to slavery worldwide. And we can treasure our own girls for, as the old saying goes, “there, but for the grace of God, go I".
Larisa Hockey - Mangapapa Church
A christian since Youth Group days, Larisa Hockey is one of the Worship Leaders at Mangapapa Church, where she has attended since moving to Gisborne in 2006 with local-born husband John. She believes in the word of God as the basis of a fullfilling life, and that Christians have an important role to play in issues affecting our community, country and beyond as they are called to be "the light of the world."