Since the release of my book, Shaken Blessings, people have started asking questions about my thirty years in Africa.
The first one is this. “Were you afraid?”
“Yes, there were times I was terrified and shuddered in my flip-flops.”
I could have hunkered down in a safe little corner of the world and hoped that God would not find me. But as a Christian I was called to serve God in Africa. I believe He gave me a job to do, so I grabbed hold of God’s courage and went to that dangerous place.
During my thirteen years in Nigeria, the country went through three military coups. I lived far away in a bush village during two of them, so I didn’t see or hear of the violence until a week later. However, the before and after of a military takeover can be just as terrifying as the turmoil itself.
After one of the coups, the country was declared safe for us to travel. During a three-hour trip in a bush taxi to the capital city, our vehicle was halted thirty separate times by various groups of rebel soldiers, policemen and immigration officials. Then I stopped counting the check points. Sometimes we were ordered out of the taxi and to sit on the side of the road until they released us. The trip took twelve hours.
Most of these military takeovers occurred back in the seventies and eighties, and since then these same countries have experienced long periods of peace.
To survive, one needs to be strong and of good courage like it says in Joshua 1:9
Courage is not something tangible that we can stuff in our pocket before we go into danger. So how does someone get it or take hold of it?
1. Pray for God’s protection and His will to be done.
2. Put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
3. Keep God’s word hidden in your heart. The Lord is with me. I shall not be afraid. I will not be frightened of what men can do to me. Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world. Allow His words to flow freely in your mind, instead of words of doubt and fear.
4. Remember the past times when the Lord protected you from dangers or gave you courage to stand up and do what was right in an evil situation.
5. Visualize yourself in the hands of God. See yourself sitting in the Lord’s lap and being close to Him. Imagine He is carrying you in his arms over the worst stretch of the road because He will never leave you or forsake you.
“Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid.” Joshua 1:9
Remember, you can do all things through Him who strengthens you.