Tested faith can become stronger faith.
A word from Curt
Today concludes the third part of a story, “At Garissa.”
It’s built around a recent tragedy in Kenya where Al Shabab terrorists killed nearly 150 college students.
It is a harrowing story that has shook this part of East Africa.
In Part I, I spoke of tough questions I’ve had about how and why a powerful God would allow this killing of innocents simply because they were non-Islamic and/or Jesus-followers. It’s a transparent examination of my heart and faith. Tested faith can become stronger faith.
Part II is an essay on what to do with our doubts. The choice is to tamp them down, feed them, or bring them out in the open to Jesus.
It’s a reminder that health, wealth, or even life isn’t promised to followers of Jesus.
However, we are promised his presence and when it comes down to it, that is enough.
I’m nervous sharing Part III. It examines the question of why pure evil seems so rampant in our part of Africa.
I’ve now made six short term trips to Africa as well as lived here for two and one half years. I’ve seen the results of violence and strife in Rwanda, Ethiopia, DR Congo, Liberia, as well as our current area of South Sudan and Chad.
We’ve also the very best of each of these countries.
Forgiveness returned for hatred.
Optimism where hope seems forlorn.
The grace of God extended across tribal and cultural lines.
We often use the term, T.I.A. This is Africa.
But T.I.A can also mean This is America. My home country, that I love so dearly, is not within its own instances of evil.
It just seems it is so much more out in the open.
In the U.S. it can be subtle but just as deadly. And our country’s history, while positive in so many ways, reveals how we’ve treated so poorly those in the minority.
I won’t ask you to enjoy today’s post. But it is an important part of our journey.
And tomorrow, we’ll return to the lighter side with my 3 favorite Ape Stories. You’ll enjoy meeting B.B., Bad Bad Leroy Brown, and Snag. We’ll also share photos and tidbits from the past week in Africa.
To my early readers: I depend (and welcome) on you to quickly notify me of any errors, glitches, or confusion in my blogs. Simply post a comment and we’ll correct ASAP.
At Garissa Part 3
The Garissa incident is the tip of the iceberg on a bigger question: Why is there such raw evil in our part of Africa?
The pure evil.
Going into a school and killing innocent helpless human on account of their religious beliefs.
Cowardly Unadulterated Evil.
There are a lot of strong words I could use.
Islamic extremism is evil.
I live between two of the extreme elements.
Al Shabab to our east causing murder and mayhem in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, and beyond.
As I’m writing this, I can look out the window in Nairobi and see Westgate Mall where a similar group killed over sixty innocents in a similar act.
Recently in our Ugandan capital city of Kampala, a hooded assassin murdered a government prosecutor on the streets.
She was chief prosecutor on the ongoing trial of the Al Shabab attacks in Uganda during the 2010 World Cup. They killed her in front of two of her children.
This is what we live on the edge of in East Africa.
Turning to Western Africa, there is Boko Haram.
During our recent sojourn in Chad, I felt the ripples of this evil group.
Once again, killing in a cowardly way.
Hiding behind masks.
I’ve lived among Islam for over two years. Most Muslims are peaceable hardworking citizens.
But there is a cancerous perversion of this religion that is purely evil.
It’s no better or worse than what happened in so-called Christian Rwanda.
What’s still happening in Democratic Congo as an outgrowth of Rwanda.
Genocide in Sudan, Darfur, Central African Republic. Pure evil.
The blood diamond wars of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Greed mixed with pure evil.
The evil of an ill-named group called “The Lord’s Resistance Army.”
The LRA. They’ve let a trial of blood across Uganda, South Sudan, Congo, and Central African Republic.
Claiming goals of building a government on the Ten Commandments, they’ve kidnapped children. Making them kill parents or siblings to harden them into child soldiers with no place to go back.
The terrible war-time practice of raping woman as a tool of war.
Pure evil beyond words.
The selfish civil war in South Sudan.
Killing someone because of the tribal markings on their forehead.
Dozens of reasons for this ongoing conflict but one suffices: Pure Evil.
I want my way and this country can go to hell if I don’t get it.
It’s sin. Jesus was correct. “The thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy.”
The thief, Satan, is here. And he’s hard at work.
I see the results of his kill/steal/destroy strategy in refugee camps and IDP facilities.
They’re the innocent trampled grass from the elephant’s fighting.
I’ve come to believe that the only solution to South Sudan’s war is the power and peace of the Prince of Peace, Jesus.
Why is this part of Africa I love seemingly so eager to embrace violence and senseless killing?
I don’t know.
What does God allow this? Once again, I have no answer.
Finally, I return to that classroom at Garissa University where the three girls are kneeling. One pleads, “Jesus, save me” and see dies in a hail of bullets.
Did her final words make her a martyr?
Secondly, and most importantly, was this a salvation prayer?
Hopefully, she had made this decision to follow/trust/call on Jesus years ago.
Hopefully, it was the pattern in her life: turning to Jesus in every crisis as well as every opportunity.
Mere words don’t result in being born again. Receiving new life is a decision of the heart.
Getting salvation is a matter of personal faith.
Save me, Jesus.
Jesus. That name.
The typical American movie/TV uses that name all over the screen.
But not in a way of faith. A cheapening of the name above all names.
I have no answer on the heart of Kenya-Girl’s prayer. Save me, Jesus.
But it was the right prayer at the right time.
Was it unanswered? I think not in the eternal scheme. (And that’s the only one that matters.)
Probably the Islamist terrorists went into the university expecting to die.
They did. Were they expecting to walk into eternity with their 72 virgins awaiting them? If so, they got a real eternal surprise. I always think about Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell. It’s a fitting place for them.
The “Save me, Jesus” girl?
I’m prone to believe she’s in the presence of Jesus.
I remember another heartfelt dying prayer.
It was a thief on the cross. “Jesus, remember me when you come into the Kingdom.”
“Today, you’ll be with me . . .”
His prayer was answered.
Not in a way that spared his life.
But in a way that gave him life.
Can I prove either of the above-mentioned destinations? Kenya-Girl, AlShaba-Man, and the Dying Thief?
No but I believe it with all my heart.
Jesus, teach me.
If I approach a Garissa/Gethsemane moment, may my heart and lips turn to you. “Save me, Jesus.”
Thank you for the assurance that you’ll be there no matter the situation.
No matter the outcome.
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