28th June, 2021 | 42 Views | 0 Comments
WHEN ALL HOPE IS GONE: A MESSAGE FOR LUNGUDA/WAJACategory: Hope
Label: Jurgoi Saleh Jnr
Lord, can you hear the silent cries of souls that's been hurt during crisis?
Do you see the bleeding wound of one that's battered, pierced and bruised?
Do you see the wounded spirit, broken by someone's greediness and religious sentiment?
Now, the people are finding it hard to function at all,
Bearing scars of broken trust and relationships.
Do you see a child that faces ridicule and hurtful words?
Being told they're useless and unworthy.
In their own home town and portion of land, is all that some have heard often all these things that happened.
Lie buried deep inside, where nobody hears the silent crying nor sees the pain they hide.
We often ask through anger and hurt and through tears the questions
'Why' and where was God in the midst of these? Did He hear my cry?
And why, Lord, did you not respond and stop the evil done?
Did your heart break in two like it must have for your Sons?
I guess we may never know why we go through so much pain,
All we can be sure of is, the love of God remains the same.
I'm sure it must have hurt you, Lord, to see your child suffer
And to see them still dealing with the inflicted sin of another.
Lord, I pray they'd be released and wholeness be restored in the affected communities!
And that they'll know fullness of life that comes from you, O Lord. (M.S.Lowndes)
The fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple was the greatest and the most painful catastrophe in Israels history. Like Nigeria, after years of unrepentant idolatry, political foolishness, and social oppression, the hammer of Gods wrath fell upon his people bringing unspeakable devastation to every level of human experience; psychological, physical, spiritual, relational, and emotional. Everything believers had was irrevocably controlled by enemies; the city of Nyuwar, the throne of Mai Tangale, The state chief judge, bandits being sent to destroy Churches, lives and properties were lost. All of it, gone up in flames. Jerusalem is depicted as Lady Zion, a widowed, childless, vulnerable woman who endured rape, exploitation, affliction, and starvation during the siege and capture of the city. Jeremiah and Lady Zion begin to dialogue in chapter one, allowing us to hear her express her pain. She cries to all who pass by her, looking for comfort amidst her affliction, though none is found. She weeps with sorrow, her strength fails, she is in distress, and she groans continually, she cries to God, all to no avail. There on the street, she was rendered helpless, naive, heartbroken,naked and unsecured. No more sense of love and security; all the enchantment of family union, memories of the past are all as nothing important. You cant help but be moved by her pain and shame, even if it was the result of her sin. Christopher Wright comments, Part of the horror of human suffering is to be unheard, forgotten and nameless, thrown asideYes of course, there are times in our lives, when we feel painful the most when our feelings are not being respected. It pains when nobody cares how feel about something done to us.
How the city sits solitary that was full of people! She has become as a widow, who was great. She who was a princess among the provinces has become tributary (v. 1a). The city of Jerusalem was a thriving, bustling city, her streets full of people and her air full of the cries of merchants hoping to sell their produce. Pilgrims from many nations came by the tens of thousands for the great pilgrimage festivals. Priests kept the sacrificial fires burning at the temple. But now, the city sits lonely. Many of its people were killed in the great siege that preceded the Babylonian victory, and most of the rest have been taken into exile in Babylonia. The city sits quiet, lonely, and almost deserted.
This verse brings to mind the last scene in the 2021 Lunguda/ Waja crisis, at Heme and Nyuwar. It pictured the aftermath of a crisis, where gunmen killed indigenous citizens of Nyuwar, sparing few houses. Cham became the habitable nation and like a city of refuge to the refugees, but the gunmen also killed one of the boys from Cham, striving to secure properties for the refugees. In the last scene, survivors look through at the city of Nyuwar. Life has ceased to exist. The streets are empty, scraps of paper blown by the wind providing the only movement. Thats how this verse picture Nyuwar; lifeless, lonely, deserted, and desolate. She has become as a widow, who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become tributary!” It pictures Jerusalem as a woman; a great woman, a princess, who has been widowed.
In that patriarchal culture, widows are vulnerable. They have few property rights and only limited ways to make a living. While Jewish law has provisions to protect widows (Deuteronomy 10:18), they often find themselves reduced to desperate circumstances financially and subject to exploitation (Psalm 94:6; Isaiah 1:23; Ezekiel 22:7). The point here is that Jerusalem, a formerly great citya princess among citieshas become like a widow. She is a vassal of Babylonia, and no longer has control over her future. She weeps bitterly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks. It is a terrible thing to go from being a princess to being a widow. It is a terrible thing to go from being an independent nation to being a vassal. Jerusalem is grieving at her loss. Among all her lovers she has none to comfort her. Jerusalems problem began with her many loversher many flirtations with pagan gods. She was bound to Yahweh by a covenant relationship, but chose to go after the Baals and other Canaanite gods. Now these former lovers offer her no comfort. In times of distress, it is wonderful to be comforted by someone who loves us. When we are afraid, it is wonderful to have our lover take us in his/her arms and reassure us. When we feel unsure of ourselves, it is wonderful to have the person we love tell us that he/she loves us.
However, for those of us who always think of reviving their old idol worship traditions when disaster strikes, the truth is, even if Satan has power to deliver; he won't leave his life time worshipers to deliver a new converts. These people have been loyal to him for ages, he won't disappoint them to please you. When we have a problem, it is wonderful to have someone who loves us say, How can I help?or Dont worry about that. Ill take care of it.Christian Lunguda and Waja in no way found that her pagan gods have no power to helpno comfort to offer. They are just idols, sticks and stones, worthless and powerless.
All her friends, people they have lived with for ages have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies. Lacking faith in God, the believers made alliances with Fulani and other Muslims to spill the blood of their own innocent brothers. Nyuwar's past was glorious, but it seems as if it has no future. The city is like a widow lonely, vulnerable, and subject to exploitation. Her adversaries have become the head (rosh), her enemies prosper. From the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed Jerusalem has been a princess, but has become a vassal (v. 1). The city and the temple have been destroyed, and the people killed or taken into captivity. There is no majesty left in Jerusalemonly ruins. “Her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, they are gone without strength before the pursuer (v. 6b).
In Lamentations 3:21-23: Jeremiah was sitting in a cave overlooking Jerusalem. He weeps as he sees the rubble of the once glorious city that men called the perfection of beauty. He smells the stench of decaying bodies. He sees poor starving people poking through the rubble.
Jeremiah said "This I recall to mind, and I have hope." He put a new set of thoughts into his mind. He ceased thinking about himself and the situation surrounding him. He started thinking about God. If people in Nyuwar will continue thinking about themselves, it would only result into depression. Thinking about God is always encouraging. As John Maxwell asserts "in the midst of his own wailing, the prophets finds hope in knowing that God still reigns. He knows that restoration and repentance can occur". With the mournful sounds of funeral march. Yet because God lives, hope lives.
A. HAVE HOPE
In May, 2021 I was privilege to go to Nyuwar and Heme, the conflict affected areas. We visited some of our friends that were affected in the aftermath of Lunguda Waja crisis….The first day we went to Heme, when I was there, it was 1 month after the Crisis in Nyuwar.
The city is rubble. The locals easily identify us as new to town, there to greet them. One lady caught my eyes, she wanted to talk, she told me her story of the destruction, her destroyed home, the dead of her father and that of her mother.… I was moved and touched when I look into her eyes. She bitterly cried, telling me she do not have what to eat, where to lay down and what to wear.
“one of the brothers at Nyuwar told me he lost everything – almost". He wants to rebuild, but there is no money to rebuild. It took him over ten years, planning to raise building that was destroyed overnight. He said he fixed it up and made a thousand improvements by spending much of money, but now it’s all gone. Totally gone. He kept pointing in the direction of where it had stood calling it “my place” and he acted like he wanted me to go see it. But that wasn't’t possible….
The ECWA Goodnews Pastor, the person of Jiggil ran for his dear life. Leaving with him underwear as the only clothes. All of his asset, burned to ashes. Having no food to survive on, all hope for survival is gone. Life was like hell on earth. There are many with related issues.One of the people in Nyuwar community said these organised groups were notorious for killing and terrorizing people, and stealing their money and property. "The situation was hell, more than that, more than you can imagine," he said. "For me, I saw everything with my own eyes. This is only a small part of the suffering that I and many people have faced." The charity Together Now operates a scheme that helps refugees in Cham reunite with family members they had to leave behind whilst fleeing persecution. He said that many refugees are forced to leave their family members behind whilst fleeing persecution. Refugees often have to flee their homes and use whatever financial resources they have to reach safety. Individuals in this situation may not have the means to fund travel and food for their family or other costs associated with reuniting with them.
But the amazing thing was the woman who has been coming to the Yamel East DCC Secretariat, this woman who had just lost EVERYTHING. This woman had a gleam in her eye. She had a hope of victory. She had a hope of reunion. And she wanted – she NEEDED – to tell the DCC Executives. In the aftermath of the Crisis, that she had not seen her husband and the children. Day one: they searched the names of those who reported and his name and children's names were not among. Day two: no sign of her husband and children. For many days straight, she wandered the vicinity of her former home calling for his husband and children.
She said she determined it, even if it would take her forever to look for her children and husband. She would never be tired of searching. She was thrilling to be reunited with her family, she dream to be something real, she believe they must be alive somewhere. I was really touched when I heard about the woman's struggle and strong will. I can't predict how this story will end. But, hopefully I joined my faith with her and as we wait for the return of her family dead or alive.
One of the refugees exclaimed that:
The last thing I remember of Nyuwar, before we left, was when my mother was taking me from our place to a place of safety. The roads were full of flames rising up from the town. I saw dead body with no head or no hands or legs. I was so shocked I couldn't stop crying. To calm me down, my mother told me they were mean people, but I still prayed for them, because even if some considered them mean, they were still dead human beings. Back at home, I left a friend in Nyuwar. I miss her a lot and I miss going to school with her. I used to play and read with her with my books but I couldn't bring it with me. We also used to have pigeons, one of them had eggs, I would feed them and care for them. I’m worried about them, I really pray someone is still caring for them. But here I don't even have a small chicken to care for. I miss my home a lot. I hope one day we’ll be back and things will be just like before. A young boy added that "it is very hard for me to understand the bloodshed, since I have never hurt anyone. I have seen some of my family members killed and others injured. I identify that I am a young boy who have witnessed conflict. I always think about my father, my mother and the rest of my family. I think about my former neighbours. I don't know if they are alive or not.
When the world says give up, faith says Dare to Hope. When your heart says it will never get better, faith says Dare to Hope. When depression, frustration, disappointment consume you, faith says Dare to Hope. "For weeping may endure for a night, but Joy cometh in the morning". Hope is all about knowing that no matter what happens, our father will take care of us.
Writer at Hopeful MeCham, Nigeria
"For my past can't go with me, as I step into my destiny"- My favorite Quote