Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beautiful Things

She was just a little girl when it happened. It was a day like any other when her uncle came to her family’s home in Freetown, and gave his heart-wrenching report.

The rebels had come.

From his hiding place in his home, he watched them brutally murder his entire family. He somehow escaped his village, and found refuge in the home of his extended family.

The war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002) birthed pain, destruction, and poverty in the lives of each of the country’s citizens.

Her family was no different than any other. Her father was forced to leave them in search for work, but found little to provide for his family throughout the years of the war. The joy and unity they once shared as a family somehow disappeared as they struggled to survive.

And no one dared to mention the pain that was bottled up somewhere deep inside their hearts.

Two weeks ago, she let it out. With a straight face, and eyes focused away from my own, this woman I’ve come to love shared with me about “that day.”

My response to her was simply, “Let’s ask Jesus what He has to say to you about this memory.”

After praying, she replied with a straight face, “He said He was with me.”

"Ok, let’s ask Him to reveal to you where He was exactly.”

She closed her eyes as she mentally went back in time, and placed herself in the room where her uncle walked in with the bad news. And with all the boldness in her heart, she asked Jesus to reveal Himself.

A smile formed on her face as she said, “He was praying for me.”

Oh, how sweet our Jesus is. He was praying for her!

It didn’t change what happened. However, the presence of Jesus created beauty even in the most painful places of her heart.

For too long, she (like many other Sierra Leoneans) has lived with the belief that the war was God’s will. Believing this made it seem holier – or humble, even – to accept and live with all the pain the war created in her heart.

Why do believers believe that God steals, kills and destroys? Isn’t that what Jesus said about our enemy?

Death was never God’s intention. From the beginning, life has always been His plan. The enemy is the one who came into the beauty of the Garden, and whispered the lies that led to death. But the story doesn’t stop there. Jesus beat death, remember? It is finished.

Life wins.

It wasn’t long before she was forgiving the rebels, and repenting of believing that God was the culprit of all her pain. Now she is walking in the belief that every good and perfect gift comes from God.

She then started noticing all the life around her. Corn. Greens. Potatoes. Mango trees. All around her, life was coming up from the same ground where innocent blood was shed ten years prior. God has turned the very things meant for evil into good. 

One of the songs that I’ve played and re-played since being here is called, “Beautiful Things,” by Gungor. I've declared its words over this nation, and I will continue to fight to see them come true.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos, life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new
You are making me new

1 comment:

  1. you're releasing His beauty all over that place maribeth. yeah!!!! more beauty is coming there. miss you a lot!