Hagar’s Hope and the Kidnapped Daughters of Nigeria

It was always one of my top five fears.

Number one for much of my adolescence. Those were the years of begging rides. My father worked all day and fought fires every evening. His car was rigged up with sirens and lights and always on call. My mother didn’t drive for years. So if I wanted to go anywhere, it meant finding my own ride. Even now, I can see through the eyes of my younger self as I stood in my kitchen window, watching, waiting for headlights to turn into our driveway

and long, long moments of wondering if I’d be forgotten, by someone else’s busy parent, or by my own, distracted by a fire emergency or a department brouhaha.

I’ve been thinking about that this week

As I pray for the missing Nigerian school girls

And for the Christians of North Korea

And for those imprisoned for their faith in China

And for the girls who have been stolen around the world for whom no one is looking.

We worry a lot about being persecuted here in America

but what would be worse, I know, would be to be forgotten by the whole world

and know it.

How many brothers of mine languish in prison cells with no word from the outside? How many sisters are locked in rooms without windows or hope? How many sons have been forced into service with rogue militias and forced to do things, to see things, to endure things knowing that no one is coming to save them? How many daughters service the needs of selfish men, screaming afterwards into pillows knowing no one can find them?

Hagar was a young woman sold into slavery and abused by her mistress, Sarah, when she was pregnant with Abraham’s son. She ran off to find freedom and encountered the Living God.  There in the desert she called Him “The God who Sees Me.” (Genesis 16:13) How desperately did that poor young woman need a God who would never lose sight of her?

God never lost sight of me and I know He hasn’t lost or forgotten the kidnapped Nigerian girls, or the North Korean believers in work camps, the imprisoned Christian Chinese, the boys pressed into military service as children, or the girls sold as sex slaves across the world.

Hagar’s God still sees.

You, loved ones, like me, are limited to affect these countless imprisoned souls – but not as limited as we think. We can refuse the false comfort of ignorance. We can be aware of what is going on. There are reputable websites such as Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, Not for Sale, Agape International Missions, and other resources providing information and specific calls to action.

We can be a voice for these ones whose voices cannot penetrate their prisons. Some of us will have opportunities to give or to go in the work involved in rescuing, reaching, restoring those who are found. All of us can pray – pray especially that God would whisper to each of these stolen or persecuted ones that they are NOT forgotten, that He sees them, that He is with them where they are.

We can pray for their deliverance. We can battle in prayer against the forces of darkness that empower the men and women who enslave, imprison, and persecute others. And we can remember.

Think how you feel if someone forgets your special day or to give you a ride or to meet you for coffee. Imagine how you’d feel if the world forgot you were waiting to be rescued from the pits of a living hell. 

When we are all delivered and meet on the other side, I believe we will know the ones for whom we’ve prayed, even if we don’t know them now. We’ll recognize one another and they will say, “Your prayers were like sunlight through my prison bars.” And we will say, “Remembering and praying for you delivered me from the bondage of self-obsession and spiritual myopia.”

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:1-3 ESV)

Your prayers can be the searchlights that find lost and kidnapped souls three continents away. Do not grow weary or cease to do good, loved ones, until all of our loved ones are rescued and safely home.

Hagar’s hope is our hope as well. The God who sees lives and still sends Living Water into the desert to restore the battered soul.  FORGET-ME-NOTS for the Stolen Girls of Nigeria.

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    The Conversation

  1. Kay Till says:

    As much as prayers for the deliverance of these young women are needed, I believe we must also pray for their captors. I pray that they may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ… and I know that Jesus, Himself, is preaching His gospel to many in the Islamic world through dreams and visions. I have heard some of their testimonies. So, knowing that God is fully capable of reaching even the hardest of hearts, I pray for the captors to repent of their wickedness, just as those who murdered Jesus were “pricked in their hearts” and that they will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord and free these young women.