In this mission to pray Jahar into God’s kingdom, it frequently seems as if we get more bad news than good news. In those times, it would be easy to despair and lose hope – but I refuse to do that, because we serve an amazing God who is capable of far more than we could ever imagine. When I need to remind myself to keep trusting in God, I frequently turn to music to comfort me. Inevitably, I hear Jahar’s story in three-quarters of the songs I hear. However, no song speaks more strongly to me about Jahar’s situation than “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture. The first time I listened to it with Jahar on my heart, I had to replay it over and over and over again.
“There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
This lyric hits me on three levels. Jerry Bridges once said, “God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son.” First, this speaks to me about the victims of this senseless tragedy. I pray daily that the evil that they experienced that day would be used for so much good in their lives, and by some of the stories I have read, I can see that that has already happened for some of them. Praise God! Moreover, Jahar is likely struggling with significant pain as I type this……both physically and emotionally. Jahar may not realize that he is God’s child yet, but I pray daily that not a single ounce of his pain would be in vain. I pray that Jesus would use every tear, every bit of suffering that Jahar endures to help lead him home. No matter how much pain he is going through right now – I fully trust that he will experience immense joy in the future. He WILL come to know the forgiveness and absolute freedom that he is offered through Christ, and he WILL get to spend eternity in the amazing presence of his beautiful Savior. Likewise, this lyric speaks to me personally in that there are often bad days…days where we get discouraging news – but I don’t need to despair because I know that the end result of this daily commitment to prayer will be joy unlike I have ever experienced.
“The wind is strong and the water’s deep, but I’m not alone here in these open seas.”
Jahar is in a mess of a situation….a situation that it seems fairly inevitable he will never get out of on this earth. He is dealing with strong winds and deep water every single day….but he is never alone. Our God is with him in that cell. He holds him, comforts him, and dries his tears. It is my fervent prayer that Jahar would physically feel God’s presence, that he would realize that it is God and not Allah that is there with him, and that it would bring him unparalleled comfort and love.
“And when the oceans rage, I don’t have to be afraid…because I know that You love [him], and Your love never fails.”
The oceans are most certainly raging, and when you really stop to analyze things – it’s easy to be afraid for Jahar. It’s easy to be afraid that he won’t come to Jesus before it’s too late and that he will have to spend eternity separated from God. It’s easy to be afraid that he will suffer from the almost inevitable effects of solitary confinement including mental illness, depression, and thoughts of suicide. It’s easy to be afraid that he will receive the death penalty. But I don’t need to be afraid – because I am certain that God’s love for Jahar is absolutely out of control….and His love never fails.
“You make all things work together for [his] good.”
This is a reference to Romans 8:28, which in its entirety reads: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” It would make sense to write this off as not pertaining to Jahar because, unless there is something we don’t know, Jahar does not yet love God. But the part that jars me back into believing in the relevance of this verse for him is “and are called according to his purpose for them.” The following verse, verse 29, reads, “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” I am most certainly not God, and I can’t claim to know His plans – but I will share with you what I believe with my whole heart. I fully believe that God has chosen Jahar and is calling him. By the looks of the boat, Jahar should have died that night and spent eternity in Hell…..but God protected him and gave him a second chance at eternal life with Him. Then God placed Jahar on the hearts of His people all over the world and asked them to pray for him. If that’s not choosing and calling somebody, I don’t know what is. So I choose to believe that God has chosen Jahar, and because of that, He will work everything together for his good. He has a plan. He is in control. He will use the lawyers, the judges, and everyone involved in this situation to accomplish His purposes for Jahar. The bits of news that we get may be discouraging – but only God truly knows Jahar’s heart….only God truly knows what he needs to experience to get to a place of crying out for his Savior. I may not understand God’s plans….but because I have experienced a tiny fraction of His immense love for Jahar, I fully trust Him with Jahar’s life and more importantly, with his eternity.