I have not been able to sleep. I just keep praying for you. Turns out, I'm not the only one...
I've read about your pleas for help, your desperate cries. I see what is coming for you from a thousand miles away--completely unable to stop it.
I am devouring information from sources I trust, and I am crying out to God to be exactly what you need when you need it. I am begging His glory to blind the eyes of the enemy so you can slip away (John 8:59). I am praying 2 Chronicles 20: 17a: "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…." I keep praying Psalm 140 over my brothers and sisters in Christ.
During those prayers, I hear the Lord whisper: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:18-19). What new thing are you doing in the Middle East right now? I am desperate to perceive it. I long for the people facing death right now to perceive what God is doing in the middle of their darkest hour. He's always moving--even when we can't see it.
Even though it feels desperate, Genesis 50:20 gives a powerful insight "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." This scripture couldn't be more relevant or shocking when you realize it is Joseph's forgiveness and revelation to the brothers who sold him into slavery.
God has a plan, even as the Taliban snatches up girls and trafficks them: The saving of many lives. Lord, how are you planning to deliver these precious little girls, even as their brothers sell them into slavery? How will you take evil and transform it into good? How can I help? Here I am, Lord, send me!
As I sat and cried, as I ached over the horror He alone can rescue them from, I started praying for 'the one.' The one Taliban who may have been indoctrinated from a young age, but something inside of him doesn't feel right about the life he is living. I prayed for the glory of God to blind him, much like it did for Saul on the path intent on killing Christians. I prayed for encounters in caves to give believers the chance to offer life to those who came to kill. I prayed for Christians to do the insane as they face death: love those who persecute them, and remember that perfect love cast out fear. I am praying that believers will feel Godly love and speak it to their enemies. I pray for that love to make their whole being glow; so many will come to salvation. An enemy who is willing to die for their cause is not impressed by someone willing to die. But a martyr willing to love? Jesus, help them cast out fear with Your love.
I keep singing the old hymn; It is Well. "And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight…". What are you doing, Lord, that we can't see? How will it lead to the salvation of many? How can I follow You? Teach me how to pray. Please open my eyes; give me insight, wisdom, discernment.
I have spent my whole life associating 'faith made sight' with the moment we see Jesus. I want to share some encouragement in the middle of what feels so hopeless. This morning, I woke up to a text. Oliviya, a little girl, who is like one of my own, spent last night crying her eyes out, praying for the people in Afghanistan. As they talked, Oliviya told her mom she wanted to ask Jesus to forgive her for her sins and come into her heart and save her! How beautiful that a broken heart actually healed it?
I want to share what I wrote back: "This is the most wonderful, beautiful news I can imagine waking up to!!! I have been praying so hard for salvation to come from the death of His saints. For eyes to be opened to who Jesus is by their sacrifice. Isn't it so like Jesus that a life here would also be one of them? His surprises are the best surprises! What if her salvation was the first crown they were able to lay at His feet?"
What if…? I have learned to pray every desire of my heart but end prayers with 'not my will but Yours.' Because I trust His will, I trust His heart. I trust Him to love people more than I ever could. Lord haste the day when our faith shall be sight. It's seeing Jesus, but it is also a mind-blowing understanding of things we could never have a chance to see here. The believers in Afghanistan will never know that their persecution ignited prayers in a little girl, herself rescued from an orphanage in China, which led to her salvation. It's NEVER for nothing. He brings beauty from ashes. He transforms things in the twinkling of an eye. He is just, and He is good.
Believers in persecution: Your faith is stirring the whole world. You are seen. You are so valuable in God's kingdom. Thank you for reminding us what truly following Jesus looks like! Glory is being birthed from your trials. It has changed me. It has changed Oliviya. I won't forget. I won't let it myself settle into a satanic lullaby.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus