Self-sacrifice doesn’t come much better than the medical staff who have volunteered to help the battle against the deadly ebola outbreak. We should be proud of them, whether from the west, east, or from the local West African communities. But also, unwilling though they were, those who succumbed to this deadly disease have played their part; their sheer numbers have cried out and reached the ears of the rest of the world, demanding a response to find a solution to the terrible problem of ebola. If a cure is found, then their deaths will not have been in vain.
The deaths of the Egyptian first-borns, the tenth and last of the plagues upon Egypt, (Exodus 12:29-30) had a similar effect. It took such a terrible event to impact Pharaoh and persuade him that he must let the people of Israel go free; his response to the earlier plagues demonstrated that he would have moved at nothing less.
This week, the news has emerged of the the slaughter on a massive scale in Nigeria by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Well, if ’emerged’ means working your way through all the news channel websites and putting in searches in order to find snippets of well-hidden information on the topic. The murder of 17 in Paris, terrible as that was, dwarfed the murder of thousands in Nigeria. And it has seemed to pass the world by.
But complain as I may about this inequity, it challenges me deeply. How many protest marches have I attended? How many letters have I written to MP’s, newspapers, or concerned bodies about issues of injustice? How many petitions have I even signed? Because unless the voice of a critical mass is heard by those that have the power to change things, then these deaths are in vain. And if I am not one of the critical mass, then who is?
And over and above all that, how much do I call out to Almighty God, the One who has ultimate power, for those facing persecution, injustice and terrible atrocities? Let their suffering not be in vain.