One of our first days there we headed over to the school. It is a special school that is run by Christian Reaching Ministries along with some help from kind friends in the United States. Some of the students were orphaned in the war and some are impoverished to the point that their parents can no longer care for them. About 35 percent of them are children who were enslaved in the north and have now been released back into their homeland but have no one to watch over them and no huts to live in.
I thought we would be there to join the Lord as works of healing began in their lives from all the atrocities that have seen and experienced. This indeed was to be the case but not in the way I expected. I envisioned times of healing prayer and deliverance. Of course, during these times I would be God’s instrument of a great and powerful move.
So we told the children the story of Daniel in the lions den. The idea was to communicate the truth that God is with us always. He is with us even in very difficult situations that we don’t understand. In my mind the idea was to put truth on the lies that so often surround trauma. It was decided that we would create time for the children to share of their experience.
A young man’s brother had been imprisoned by the Islamic regime. In the night as he prayed the doors of his cell were opened and he escaped in the rain which allowed his trackers not to follow him. With a big smile this young man told us, referring to his brother, “Now, he lives just there” as he pointed across the river. I realized as the children told their stories they were not stories of pain and defeat, but rather of victory and deliverance. It’s not exactly what I expected.
We went on to another class. Again time came for the stories of the children to be heard. There was quiet in the room. It wasn’t an awkward quiet but no one spoke. Then came some interchange among the students and even some giggling. Finally, the word from the translator came. “They are happy because they have forgotten their stories.” In that moment I was struck with the awesome simplicity of God. They had no memories. Healing comes in different forms. I am not suggesting that everything has been healed but in that moment I understood that God had done something special in the hearts of those children. Sometimes healing is about timing. Sometimes healing is a process. Sometimes healing is instant. I am reminded of a verse an old friend used to quote, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belonged to us....”
We headed onto another classroom as I was processing the multifaceted nature of God’s goodness. In this class we gave the children time to color. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in this place it was huge. So big in fact that when recess came not one of the children moved. They were happy just to stay in the classroom and miss lunch in order that they might continue to color and draw. I walked through the class looking at the pictures they drew on a heart that had been cut out for them from construction paper. I am no art therapist, but as I looked at the images they drew, I found hearts with messages of I love you; trees, sunshine and bright cheery design. Still to this day I don’t understand this. Where were the dark images that were hidden in the recesses of their hearts? I am convinced they were not there because they did not exist.
Who can understand the majesty of God and the incredible love He expresses as He heals His helpless ones. He is a great physician and a very precise surgeon. I am privileged to have been able to travel the world, see His miracles and love on His children and witness His goodness. I am happy for the children of South Sudan. I am thankful for the deliverance from evil rulers of the north. I am ecstatic they have begun to find the freedom that only Jesus can bring.