As I opened the news today, I read of another disaster that has fallen upon the country of Afghanistan. The news headline tells of a massive earthquake that hit a rural part of eastern Afghanistan. The reports, as of today, state that over 1,000 people have been killed and possibly up to 1,000 injured. The agony and suffering of Afghanistan’s people continues.
Afghanistan is known for its natural disasters, specifically earthquakes. The border of Afghanistan and Pakistan sits in a tectonically active region, over a number of fault lines. Hence, the nation experiences reoccurring tremors and major earthquakes. Since 1998, Afghanistan and its border areas have been hit with six major earthquakes that have each produced over a thousand deaths. Besides earthquakes, Afghanistan endures other calamities, such as droughts and flooding, not to mention political instability. On top of this, the invasion of radical Islamists and foreign occupation has riddled this land with suffering, violence, and insecurity and beat it into a wasteland. All this heart ache is creating a vacuum in the lives of Afghans who find no solution in Islam.
Until September 2021, when the Taliban gained control of the country, Afghanistan experienced a reprieve and even some revitalization. During this period of ten to fifteen years, people enjoyed some freedoms and some semblance of normality returned. With this came renewed efforts to bring the hope of the gospel to a broken nation. An Afghan church began to spring forth. It was a small beginning, but the Word of God has not returned without results as years of sowing also produced a harvest of souls.
I would like to call you to intensified prayer for the country of Afghanistan and its people. Set aside one day this week to seek the Lord with fasting and prayer. Move into a mode of intercession as you take on the suffering of the Afghan people and stand as guardian on the wall to seek the salvation of the Afghan people. You may ask, “What good will our prayer do? This country is beyond repair and forsaken by God. Nothing is going to change the fate of this Muslim nation.”
In response to that question, let me remind you of Jonah and the great city of Nineveh! Because of his prejudices, Jonah was a reluctant missionary who would rather run than obey the command of the Lord to go to Nineveh. While in the belly of the great fish, Jonah prayed, “Salvation comes from the Lord alone” (Jonah 2:9, NLT). Remember that upon hearing Jonah’s message, the entire city repented and the Lord relented of the disaster He intended to bring upon them. Through this process, Jonah learned of God’s compassion for these people when God declared, “Should not I spare Nineveh, that great city” (Jonah 4:11, KJV)? Jonah’s prayer not only turned his heart back to the Lord’s purposes, but it also gave him a second chance to preach to Nineveh—and they turned from their evil ways. God can do the same for the nation of Afghanistan!
Pray for God’s peace and comfort for the people of Afghanistan! But even more fervently, pray that the people of Afghanistan would come to know the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, as their Savior and Lord. Is Afghanistan beyond hope? No, because we can pray and the Lord can move—even when it looks dark and hopeless.
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