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Congo Crisis Entry 19

Alessandra clicked off her flashlight, but she found the heat oppressive, making it difficult to fall asleep. After an hour, however, she did manage to fall into a fitful slumber.

Her oblivion was pierced by an awful wail that seemed to come from the other side of the wall behind her head. The mournful shrieks increased for a time and were joined by other voices. One phrase was repeated over and over during the commotion, “Akufi, akufi, mwana na ngai akufi!” Alessandra’s soul was tortured by the unrelenting noise, and she found herself crying although she couldn’t understand the words that she heard. Gradually the wailing became fainter as the overwrought woman walked to another part of town. As tranquility returned, she found herself slipping back to sleep, with a prayer on her heart for the woman. The next morning, Cathy explained that the woman had lost a child during the night.

What Alessandra was experiencing for the first time was an African death wail, an overt form of mourning common in the east. But although, she could not do anything to comfort that poor woman who lost her child, she knew Someone who could: God. Psalm 34:17 offers that “The LORD is near unto the broken hearted; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.” Where humans fall short, God is capable of stepping up to the plate and meeting the mournful person at the place of their deepest need. He’s a Comfort to the mournful and a Strength to the weak. Let’s learn to draw near to God during seasons of loss.


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