In the book The Insanity of God, author Nik Ripken dwells in part on the bleak outlook many Somalis have on life.
He describes one scene in particular where numerous Somalis were lined up to receive food aid, in a line which seemed to last forever. These individuals were so desperate for any form of food to fill their malnourished bodies, that they were willing to obey anything that the military officials said. They knew not to bring weapons or move without being told to.
On that day, amidst the crowd of empty, emotionless faces stood a twelve year old boy with a gun strapped around his shoulder. When the military officials saw the gun, they ordered him to back away. The boy did not understand what they were saying and the military officials shot him right there on the spot (for they didn’t know if he planned to shoot anyone).
As the child lay dying, the faces in the line remained empty and emotionless. The author reflected on this moment, noting that a child had been shot in broad daylight and nobody seemed to be affected by this. They just went along with what they were doing.
In juxtaposition with this horrific scene, whenever something happens to a child in a country like America, it seems as if the whole nation mourns. Death, especially the death of a child, pulls on our heartstrings. So how had Somalia become a place so void of any emotion or hope?
Death, violence and starvation never cease in this East African nation. To many Somalis there is no hope, life is merely a painful existence to live through.
So how can the message of Christ work in a nation such as Somalia, where there is no hope?
Those few people who have chosen to follow Christianity in Somalia are persecuted, often to the point of death for their faith. If at all possible, it would seem like those who are Christians have it even worse than the rest of the Somali population. To an outsider, Christianity makes no sense in a country like Somalia.
Yet, our brothers and sisters choose to follow Christ because through the persecution, they cling tighter and tighter to the hope that is found in Him alone. They know that the darkness and emptiness which surrounds them is only temporary, but that through Christ there is hope forever. This is what allows them to carry on and remain strong, even in a country like Somalia.
If you are looking for stories of those who remain Christians and shine the light of Christ in countries like Somalia, where it seemingly makes no sense, I would highly recommend reading this book. It shines a new perspective on Christ’s strength and the importance of being His light in a dark world.