In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
I ask the Lord - who bore our griefs and pains - to erase the scars of the wounds and the pain of our Nigerian girl. And to show her that, for him and for all of us, she is a precious stone.
This picture pierces me, it moves my soul. An atonished father, hugging his wife and his daughter, both crying with joy. The girl is one of the Chibok students kidnapped in Nigeria by the evil band of Boko Haram, and now released.
I walk, with my heart trembling, through the father's eyes, his hand that squeezes them without wanting to let them go. The mother weeping loudly to the sky, the soft crying of the girl, hugging her mom's neck with one hand.
And while I continue walking through the picture, I see in her other hand something that shakes me: a New Testament.
Behind that little book, I see hot Sundays at Sunday school, learning stories about Noah's Ark, the manna in the wilderness, King David, Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee. I see the day she felt like a lost sheep and sensed the Lord's gaze looking at her, at her alone.
I see the happy day she gave her precious life to Jesus, the day in which everything was new and she felt the world belonged to her because her Father God had won it for her; I see her finding comfort for her adolescent emotions in the Psalms, at the end of that book from the Gideons. That little book she opened every morning, was closed on April 1 for a brainless possessed by the devil, who dragged her from school to take her to the jungle of pain and death.
That girl could be my daughter; that girl is, indeed, my daughter! The daughter of my brothers, my daughter. I cry for her, for her unfair pain, for her kidnapped adolescence, for her stolen stars. And I am outraged to the core, taking the cry of the brothers in Revelation as mine: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
I see in my Nigerian girl the story of Tamar and Bathsheba, the story of Jesus: the story of incomprehensible unjust suffering. And I ask the Lord to accompany her to open her Bible again and read it with new eyes, so that she could maybe understand these stories with more lucidity, and they bring cure for her ittle heart.
I ask the Lord to show her in the book she squeezes in her hand, that no matter what those beasts have done to her, no matter how they despised, humiliated, violated her... No matter what they think of her, she is a princess, a daughter of the King of the Earth, who sees and loves her as if she were the only person in the world.
I ask the Lord - who bore our griefs and pains - to erase the scars of the wounds and the pain of our Nigerian girl, and to show her that, for him and for all of us, she is a precious stone:
"O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones." (Isaiah 54:11-12)