Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. — Isaiah 40:28-29 NIV
As I have followed with great sadness the events unfolding in Afghanistan in recent weeks, I have also found myself drawn to two texts – one from the great prophet Isaiah, and one from the humblest of nursery rhymes, Humpty Dumpty.
At times when nations make an uproar and kingdoms fall (see Psalm 46), Isaiah brings perspective. He reminds us in Isaiah 40 that the nations are as a drop in a bucket before him, that he sits above the circle of the earth and brings princes to naught, and that he reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. He also reminds us of God’s great power and care for the weary and the weak:
“ Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:28-29 NIV
In far humbler terms, Humpty Dumpty reminds us that even as a shattered egg, all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men – all the greatest and wealthiest and best and brightest and most powerful of the world simply cannot make things right and put them back together again in a place like Afghanistan. Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall, and we feel our own weakness and powerlessness to set things right again.
As followers of Jesus who witness all that is unfolding in Afghanistan, we do well to sit before God in sorrow and weakness, to share in the suffering of others, to reflect on the limits of our own and of all earthly power, and to remember both the power and the mercy of God, who is Creator and Lord over all. We also do well not to rush beyond the painful realities before us, but rather to let their weightiness press us toward God, who is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), and who will both shape our own lives and bring his mercy and salvation to bear in the world as we seek him in prayer.
As you consider both individually and corporately how to respond in prayer for Afghanistan in the days to come, I have found this brief liturgical prayer here that was shared by a dear friend who works in the region, to be helpful. It is followed by a link to a more extensive prayer guide, as well as to a few suggestions for how to give financially in helpful ways.
If you are interested in giving or volunteering in helpful ways, consider the following: · The International Rescue Committee is aiming to raise $10 million to “deliver lifesaving aid” in Afghanistan.
You can find resettlement agencies working in your state or city by following links here: find.usahello.org. Choose English, type in your city name, and then choose the “resettlement services” icon to see a list of agencies working in your area.