Nick Greyling was held captive, assaulted and starved by a rebel movement in Nigeria. He was allowed to speak to his wife Lorna in South Africa for 30 seconds three times per day. While he was speaking he was hit with a panga on his bare back. He would then plead: ‘Help me, help me, they’re going to shoot me’. Nick knew that they could shoot and kill him in cold blood because he had seen how easily they had done it to others. Lorna tells how she prayed for him continuously. Their friends, family and people from their church assisted them greatly. During that time people would pray round the clock for Nick. After seven days he was released. Nick says: ‘I got a second chance.’ He says his entire life has changed in everything he does. Both Nick and Lorna (see photo) say that the events brought them closer together as life companions. For them it has become more important than ever to spend time together. Both say life is precious. (On Kwêla, Kyknet).
It often happens that people experience a very ‘bad’ time. For believers there is the consolation of having a heavenly Father to whom they can turn. They ask their friends to pray with them; they form a prayer chain to make continuous prayers possible. At such a time it’s a great consolation to have good friends, friends who love you and who share your faith. Nick and Lorna said that they had sensed that people were praying for them; it carried them through the difficult time. God knows what is good for us and therefore congregations have been established since the earliest times till today where believers can talk about their faith and read from the Word together. We need people who can pray with us when we are in distress. We need people who can rejoice with us when we prosper and can cry with us when our world is shattered. It is important to share in the fellowship of believers: “For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them” (Matt. 18:20). Often when people experience something which they find very negative, it changes their outlook on life in a positive way. Then they realise how precious life is.
In Nick’s case he wasn’t harmed physically. In other instances, people pray continuously and still the worst happens. But even then there are also many believers who say that all the prayers were not in vain. It strengthened their faith; brought them closer to God. They will still testify: ‘God is good’. After Job had lost his possessions and all his children, he said: ‘Though he slay me, I will hope in him’ (Job 13:15). No tear we shed escapes God’s attention: You have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? (Ps. 56:9).
Nick says: ‘I clung to my faith to get through it’. During such times of distress believers don’t ask questions like: ‘Why did God allow it to happen to me?’ or ‘Why me?’. They will ‘cling to their faith’. They seek peace and comfort in their hearts, not in rational responses.
The Heidelberg Catechism states: ‘My only consolation is that I don’t belong to myself, but to Jesus Christ’. We must always remember this and hold onto this belief. We may sometime need it desperately.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the consolation that we belong to You. Amen.
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