The laws of this country need to change but we are not lawmakers. New defense strategy needs to be adopted but we are not Jahar’s attorneys. Funds need to be found but we are not wealthy. Alone in a small cell hour after hour, day after day, Jahar needs comfort, but we are not on the guest list.
What can we do then, in the face of our compassionate desire to help this boy with little opportunity to do so?
We can pray, because prayer changes things.
As I have focused on writing this blog, it has been brought to my attention by the One who guides all our steps that I am neglecting that most sacred call. My prayers for Jahar have grown quiet while I’ve been busy tweeting and blogging. As good as those pursuits may make me feel, I am starting to question their value in the long run.
Proverbs 10:19 says “In many words, transgression is unavoidable.” That Bible verse always makes me think about certain social media and my frequent presence on it.
Jahar will be formally sentenced to death in just three days. While I understand he will not be taken out behind the courthouse and shot following the hearing, it will still be a very painful experience for him and for those of us who care deeply about him.
We have already seen how painful a sentencing hearing can be:
“You have failed in your duty to humanity.”
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Khairullozhon Matanov standing there, hearing those words, knowing he did not deserve them. Somehow, he did not react.
Anyone who has been falsely accused and unjustly punished as a child remembers how it felt no matter how long ago the incident of shaming. In “Gold by Moonlight,” Amy Carmichael wrote “To be able to stand steady in defeat is in itself a victory. There is no tinsel about that kind of triumph.”
I can only imagine the torrent of hate, shame and outrage that will be unleashed upon Jahar at sentencing. Jesus said “Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.” I suspect few will care to heed Jesus’ words on June twenty-fourth.
The emotional climate in the courtroom will be intense. Victims will arrive with hands and hearts full of rocks with which to stone the accused. The sharks will be circling, smelling Jahar’s blood in the water. This young man will have to be strong at a time when his strength is most likely long gone.
How I wish just one person would have the character to take the stand and say that they fully intended to throw stones on this day until they heard from Almighty God and come now with a heart of forgiveness, a desire to understand. I wish for it, but I don’t expect it.
But prayer changes things. Angels can show up in that courtroom to sustain him. We can pray them into attendance. They can whisper words of love and comfort and courage as the victims are speaking words of wrath and condemnation. God can fill Jahar with an unexplainable sense of peace, giving him hope even in the face of such hopelessness. These things can happen at sentencing if we pray.
In 1974 I accepted Jesus as my savior and Lord, an experience called being ‘born again.’ A short time later I asked the Lord for and received the in-filling of His Holy Spirit. From that point on I had the ability to pray in tongues. Many of you know about that phenomenon. I won’t launch into an explanation of praying in tongues today, but I will be glad to explain to anyone who sends me a DM on Twitter because God strongly desires believers to have this gift! Believe me when I say it is one of the most powerful and effective weapons in the Christians’ arsenal.
I know how big Goliath looks from where we stand. I know how powerful he acts and sounds. I see what he is getting away with. At times I am overcome by anxiety, hopelessness and despair. These wicked judges and government officials seem to hold all the cards.
And God reminds me that’s right: they seem to.
More than a year ago, God led me to Psalm 2 when I was overwhelmed with fear and sorrow over what Jahar is facing. Whenever I need to now, I reread these words and my burden for Jahar is lifted off my shoulders. I hope they do the same for you.
Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.
I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, “You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.
Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Wicked judges and prosecutors lie and feel safe in their wickedness. God has been watching and weighing their deeds in the balance all along. There will be a day when He will remove those who continue to oppose His will for Jahar. We will see it!
Let us take heart and pray, because prayer changes things! The song that follows is a beautiful and powerful example of the message Jahar could hear that day, blocking out all other voices!