If you’re like me, at times you forget how amazing God’s love is or sometimes just take it for granted. For some of us, it takes a dark period in life (even if foolishly brought on by ourselves) to remind us how God’s hand and his love are at work in our lives to take us all the way to the destination he has for us, even if we question his love when an ordeal begins. Phyllis Sortor went through such a time earlier this year as she was going about doing the Lord’s business as a missionary in Nigeria. Armed men invaded the school where she was working and took her hostage.
At first, Sortor was despondent about her situation. Then the second day of her captivity, a Christian hostage negotiator who was allowed to talk to her by phone reassured her that thousands of saints were praying for her. From that point she was sure God would see her through. But before her eventual release, worse things were to come. Yet, in the midst of those worse things, she felt God’s hand of protective love through the prayers of the saints.
She was given muddy water to drink, but never got sick or suffered any negative effects from it. One kidnapper was ordered to execute her, but ended up protecting her and caring for her needs instead. Her kidnappers eventually decided to sell her to a witch doctor so she could be killed and her body parts harvested for their evil rituals, but God gave her wisdom to negotiate her release. She convinced them that her family and friends would pay for her release which would be more lucrative for them than sacrificing her. Ultimately, that’s what happened–a ransom was paid for her in March and she was let go unscathed. A Christian man then came across her on the road where they let her go and he took her to his church where arrangements were made for her journey back home.
Sortor says her ordeal made her faith stronger than ever. And her story is a reminder to us all how God’s love is not a halfway deal, but is so immeasurable and very present in our times of trouble. Even if we end up losing our lives for his sake, his love is right there to the end ushering us into eternity to appear before him.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer… 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1
Source: Alysson Aredas, Kidnapped missionary credits prayers for rescue, Turlock Journal, July 23, 2015.
Harry A. Gaylord