by Immaculee Ilibagiza with Steve Erwin
Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
I have to say.. this book came at just the right time for me. We've had a really rough weekend... and this book totally made me realize that I can have hope whenever I need it, I just need to pray and ask God to help me through whatever is happening in my life. She forgave so willingly and never lost hope in the future. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts.
"The world had seen the same thing happen many times before. After it happened in Nazi Germany, all the big, powerful countries swore, 'Never again!' But here we were, six harmless females huddled in darkness, marked for execution because we were born Tutsi. How had history managed to repeat itself? How had this evil managed to surface once again? Why had the devil been allowed to walk among us unchallenged, poisoning hearts and minds until it was too late?"(86) - I am so baffled by such profound thoughts. I used to wonder why we ALWAYS had to study history, it seemed like a bunch of nonsense... memorizing dates and time periods and battle places, but it really isn't. There could be so many things to learn if we just studied them for a moment and then not allowed the devil to enter our hearts. Always love people for their insides and not for their appearance.
Throughout the book, she would argue with 'the devil' or rather her shoulder devil, when she was most scared. She would try and cry out to God and a voice inside her head told her that she wasn't worthy to pray to God, she had not forgiven these killers... she was just as bad as them. This is her response... "One night I heard screaming not far from the house, and then a baby crying. The killers must have slain the mother and left her infant to die in the road. The child wailed all night; by morning, its cries were feeble and sporadic and by nightfall, it was silent. I shivered as I thought about how that baby's life had ended, I prayed for God to receive the child's innocent soul, and then asked Him, How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant? I heard His answer as clearly as if we'd been sitting in the same room chatting: You are all my children.... and the baby is with Me now. It was such a simple sentence, but it was the answer to the prayer I'd been lost in for days. The killers were like children... In God's eyes the killers were part of His family, deserving of love and forgiveness. I knew that I couldn't ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children. At that moment, I prayed for the killers, for their sins to be forgiven. I prayed that God would lead them to recognize the horrific error of their ways before their life on Earth ended - before they were called to account for their mortal sins. That night I prayed with a clear conscience and a clean heart. For the first time since I entered the bathroom, I slept in peace." What a powerful testimony of forgiveness....
She talks of the uncertainty that we have in this life. "I was certain that God had a greater purpose for me, and I prayed every day for Him to reveal it to me. At first I was expecting Him to show me my entire future all at once - maybe with a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder thrown in for good measure. But i came to learn that God never shows us something we aren't ready to understand. Instead, He lets us see what we need to see, when we need to see it. He'll wait until our eyes and hearts are open to Him, and then when we're ready, He will plant our feet on the path that's best for us... but it's up to us to do the walking." I love this grand statement of putting your faith in God... this hit me so hard this past weekend and I know that this is so true. Nate had an experience very similar to this where he asked a question... and God seemed to say... "you don't need to know that now...." I know we'll find out when we're ready.
Please read this book... You will discover wonderful things about faith and love and forgiveness. What a beautiful story.