I recalled visiting my sponsored child in Manado, the capital of the North Sulawesi province. Just days before my visit, my sponsored child's father was involved in a car accident. He was a motorcycle taxi driver transporting an old lady at that time. Unfortunately, she was thrown out of the back seat due to a collision, severely injured and died the next day. The police held him responsible for the incident and arrested him even though he was not at fault.
This was a devastating news to his family whose livelihoods depend on his small income. What was even more devastating was the knowledge that the police arrested him for money and demanded 5 million rupiah (about $500 AUD) in exchange for his release.
When I arrived at my sponsored child's home, I could clearly see that the family was in a state of shock. Two little boys were quiet, and their mother could not erase deep sadness on her face. She seemed very traumatised. How did I end up visiting this family for such a time as this? I was heartbroken.
How could this poor family pay the large sum of money? Why do 'have-nots' always suffer more from injustice? What can I do to help them? Immediately, I thought about just paying the money from my pocket and bringing the father back. What a timely solution this could be to ease everyone's pain… or not?
Incidentally, my Indonesian friend said to me "Do not give them money. You would only add more to injustice and corruption by doing that." This statement challenged me to the core. It was as if God was speaking to me directly. I was prompted to ask myself again: what does God want me to do in this situation?
The very best I could do for this family was to pray for them with all my heart, right there, right then. That was it. Worry can do a lot of things to us, but prayer can do a lot of things for us. Talking to people for God is a great thing, but talking to God for people is even greater. After all, isn't prayer our most powerful weapon against injustice and corruption of this world?
As I started praying with this family, my heart was filled with compassion and longing for justice. Some of the neighbours also came and joined us in prayer. We then went to the police station to see if we could visit the detained father. While waiting in the car with the little boys, tears started to flow from my eyes. I closed my eyes and prayed interiorly "Lord, you are the God of justice and mercy. Would you please guard this family? Please strengthen them and draw them closer to you in this time of trouble. I pray for this man's safe return to his family."
When I opened my eyes, I saw the father coming out of the police station. He was given 10 mins to meet with his family and visiting friends. It was only a brief moment, but long enough to talk to him in person and pray together.
Human beings can inflict dreadful suffering on one another, but we can also be the channel for amazing love of Jesus. I praised God for using me to be a channel of some encouragement to this family during tough times. Upon returning to Australia, I shared this testimony with several people and intercessory prayer followed.
Several months later, I received a letter from my sponsored child. He described how his father was miraculously released without any bribery payment, for which the whole family gave thanks to God. He also sent me a heartfelt 'thank you' for visiting the family and praying with them.
This was one important lesson I learned while in Indonesia. When we depend on money or power, we get what money or power can do. When we depend on people, we get what people can do. But when we depend upon prayer, we get what God Almighty does. Had I just paid the money, I might have caused more harm than good in the very process of trying to help someone.
"Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us." – William Barclay.
Terima Kasih Tuhan. (Thank you Lord).
Daniel Jang from Newcastle, New South Wales is serving with (Operation Mobilisation) OM's ship - Logos Hope. For more information, visit www.gbaships.org
Daniel Jang's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-jang.html