Ivory Coast Civil War Challenges Faith of Local SCSU Students

By: Ryan Atkins 0 Comments   5/6/2011

I have come to the conclusion to this five part series regarding the situation arising within the Ivory Coast.

I have spoken about the political ramifications, the international interventionthe media coverage from Muslim and Christian perspectives and the emotional impact that the situation was having on local SCSU students from the Ivory Coast.

I will now speak about maintaining a trust and relationship with God as war is terrorizing your country in such a real way that when you speak to family members on SKYPE you hear the bombs or gun shots in the back ground.

The bible speaks of overcoming tribulation or holding strong to our faith until the end, even mentioning long suffering as a fruit of the Spirit.

However, how often must we truly do this? I have overcome obstacles within my life, yet I have never endured an uprising with my country such as Ivory Coast. I have never had a parent of mine have a machete held to their neck being told they will die, only to be saved at the last moment because the perpetrators unexpectedly ran away as it happened with Elischeba Balle father that I wrote about in the previous article.

When we experience suffering how do you maintain your faith?

Even though the Bible states “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Romans 5:3,

“Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.”  Ephesians 3:1

“Partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.” Hebrews 10:33

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

“And our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 2 Cor 1:7

The Bible clearly states that we will suffer in this time. I don’t get why we must suffer, yet we must. That’s why watching people who defeat suffering with trust in God is appealing and contagious. In the midst of the battles within the Ivory Coast I had the privilege of joining over a dozen SCSU students in prayer for their country.

Some of them admitted their faith wasn’t strong but continued to pray and to believe God to intercede upon their behalf.

Third year student Henri Ouraga admitted his faith has struggled during this time, but joined the group for prayer. Ouraga has found comfort from his mother, whose faith has remained strong despite living through the situation.

“I stopped believing for awhile,” Ouraga said. “Mom said ‘Pray. Pray. Test your faith.” She sent numbers of my sister’s pastor. I pray with the pastor through SKYPE...I had a book by Joel Osteen “Become a Better You” And I ask ‘Where’s God?’ It’s hard to keep faith.”

The Ivory Coast residents believe partially because the prophetic word over the Ivory Coast has been fulfilled thus far.

“It has been prophesied that there would be a lot of death and destruction,” Balle said. “At the last minute God will intervene...God will make the economy go up.”

Balle admitted the difficulty of waiting upon God but has been encouraged by her aunt, who despite living through the terror surrounding Ivory Coast has not had her faith shaken.

“God is working for us,” Balle said as she relayed what her aunt had spoken.

As I watched Balle, Ouraga and other individuals from Ivory Coast fight to maintain their faith despite the tribulations they have faced, I have see people whose trust is in God and must be in God. Despite uncertainty and moments of fear these students have demonstrated their belief that God is working for them.

“...If God is for us who can be against us.” Romans 8:31

This is what the Ivory Coast students have represented.

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