Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to survive watching the news

Below are 180 of the 279 girls abducted in Nigeria. When terrible events like this happen, it is tempting to conceptualize the evil acts committed. We sometimes forget that a new and dreadful reality has been created for each person involved. They do not have the privilege of seeing the story on yahoo news, frowning in concern, and then moving on to check emails. For them, this is life now.

However, what can we really do? We are thousands of miles away and posess probably little to no knowledge of how to track down sex traffickers. Few of us have the cash to buy plane tickets to Nigeria. Somehow, posting about it on Twitter doesn't accomplish our mission either.

Then what are we to do when we recall that we also long to fly to South Korea to comfort the families of the boat wreck victims? Oh, and the earthquake in South America, and the orphans in Russia?

Suddenly, we are overwhelmed. We are physically incapable of personally tending to the needs of each person affected by tragedy and injustice.

Would it be best to push all this pain from our minds since we cannot do anything about it?

Perhaps it is not yet time to despair.

When I say that the best course of action is to pray for all these hurting souls, some people may roll their eyes. They wonder how our sweet little thoughts can possibly impact the lives of people we do not even know. Here, faith becomes most necessary. We may never see the effects of our prayers for others. But our prayers do not just swirl around our own heads. They go somewhere. Not only that, but God has solemnly promised us that every prayer will be held within His heart.

Some might wonder why we have to do the work of praying for others. Why does God not come down here and wipe away suffering? There is a longer answer I plan to discuss later, but the short answer is that the act of prayer allows us to participate in God's work of salvation. God asks tiny little you and me to empty ourselves and be a part of His loving plan. In prayer, we hand over our selfishness, our control, our fears. Certainly, such acts cannot but help make the world a better place.

Still others may ask why any of this even matters. Why should Americans care about some bad thing that happened to some people on the other side of the world. I give you the eloquent, unflinching Pope Benedict XVI:

Each of us. I ask you to take a moment to say a prayer for these girls. If that is too much, just pray for one. She matters to someone. Thank you.

Deborah ​Abge, Awa ​Abge, Hauwa ​Yirma, Asabe ​Manu, Mwa ​Malam Pogu, Patiant ​Dzakwa, Saraya ​Mal Stover, Mary ​Dauda, Gloria ​Mainta, Hanatu ​Ishaku Gloria ​Dama, Tabitha ​Pogu, Maifa ​Dama, Ruth ​Kollo, Esther ​Usman, Awa ​James, Anthonia Yahonna, Kume ​Mutah, Aisha ​Ezekial, Nguba ​Buba, Kwanta ​Simon, Kummai ​Aboku, Esther ​Markus, Hana ​Stephen, Rifkatu ​Amos, Rebecca ​Mallum, Blessing ​Abana, Ladi ​Wadai, Tabitha ​Hyelampa, Ruth ​Ngladar, Safiya ​Abdu, Na’omi ​Yahonna, Solomi ​Titus, Rhoda ​John, Rebecca ​Kabu, Christy ​Yahi, Rebecca ​Luka, Laraba ​John, Saratu ​Markus, Mary ​Usman, Debora ​Yahonna, Naomi ​Zakaria, Hanatu ​Musa, Hauwa ​Tella, Juliana ​Yakubu, Suzana ​Yakubu, Saraya ​Paul, Jummai ​Paul, Mary ​Sule, Jummai ​John, Yanke ​Shittima, Muli ​Waligam, Fatima ​Tabji, Eli ​Joseph, Saratu ​Emmanuel, Deborah Peter, Rahila ​Bitrus, Luggwa ​Sanda, Kauna ​Lalai, Lydia ​Emmar, Laraba ​Maman, Hauwa ​Isuwa, Confort ​Habila, Hauwa ​Abdu, Hauwa ​Balti, Yana ​Joshua, Laraba ​Paul, Saraya ​Amos, Glory ​Yaga, Na’omi ​Bitrus, Godiya ​Bitrus, Awa ​Bitrus, Na’omi ​Luka, Maryamu Lawan, Tabitha ​Silas, Mary ​Yahona, Ladi ​Joel, Rejoice ​Sanki, Luggwa ​Samuel, Comfort ​Amos, Saraya ​Samuel, Sicker ​Abdul, Talata ​Daniel.
Rejoice ​Musa, Deborah ​Abari, Salomi ​Pogu, Mary ​Amor, Ruth ​Joshua, Esther ​John, Esther ​Ayuba, Maryamu Yakubu, Zara ​Ishaku, Maryamu Wavi, Lydia ​Habila, Laraba ​Yahonna, Na’omi ​Bitrus, Rahila ​Yahanna, Ruth ​Lawan, Ladi ​Paul, Mary ​Paul, Esther ​Joshua, Helen ​Musa, Margret Watsai, Deborah Jafaru, Filo ​Dauda, Febi ​Haruna, Ruth ​Ishaku, Racheal Nkeki, Rifkatu Soloman, Mairama Yahaya, Saratu ​Dauda, Jinkai ​Yama, Margret Shettima, Yana ​Yidau, Grace ​Paul, Amina ​Ali, Palmata Musa, Awagana Musa, Pindar ​Nuhu, Yana ​Pogu, Saraya ​Musa, Hauwa ​Joseph, Hauwa ​Kwakwi, Hauwa ​Musa, Maryamu Musa, Maimuna Usman, Rebeca Joseph, Liyatu ​Habitu, Rifkatu Yakubu, Naomi ​Philimon, Deborah Abbas, Ladi ​Ibrahim, Asabe ​Ali, Maryamu Bulama, Ruth ​Amos, Mary ​Ali, Abigail Bukar, Deborah Amos, Saraya ​Yanga, Kauna ​Luka, Christiana Bitrus, Yana ​Bukar, Hauwa ​Peter, Hadiza ​Yakubu, Lydia ​Simon, Ruth ​Bitrus, Mary ​Yakubu, Lugwa ​Mutah, Muwa ​Daniel, Hanatu ​Nuhu, Monica Enoch, Margret Yama, Docas ​Yakubu, Rhoda ​Peter, Rifkatu Galang, Saratu ​Ayuba, Naomi ​Adamu, Hauwa ​Ishaya, Rahap ​Ibrahim, Deborah Soloman, Hauwa ​Mutah, Hauwa ​Takai, Serah ​Samuel, Aishatu Musa, Aishatu Grema, Hauwa ​Nkeki, Hamsatu Abubakar, Mairama Abubakar, Hauwa ​Wule, Ihyi ​Abdu, Hasana Adamu, Rakiya ​Kwamtah, Halima ​Gamba, Aisha ​Lawan, Kabu ​Malla, Yayi ​Abana, Falta ​Lawan, and Kwadugu Manu.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30"But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31"So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows." Matt 10:29-30

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