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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bulgarian pilots kidnapped

"Interruption Of Aid"
This is not the kind of news that makes headlines in the United States. For those affected, however, it's tragic. Three Bulgarian pilots were kidnapped on Wednesday as they attempted to fly planeloads of food to refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. For the people on the ground, this interruption of aid could mean life or death.
The plight of those in West Darfur State in Sudan (a nation in northern Africa) has occasionally been in the news. In 2003 many in that area rebelled against the government, leading to a crackdown that resulted in over 300,000 deaths and the displacement of millions. Those millions depend on the assistance provided by the World Food Program.
The kidnapping yesterday is but the latest incident of a growing movement to stop food from reaching those who need it desperately. There is great concern for the safety of the three pilots, but there is also tremendous concern for those who wonder when they will be able to eat again.
Think of it this way: An automobile accident leaves a family seriously injured. The ambulance that is dispatched to rush them to help is hijacked before it can reach the victims. Would there not be an outrage at such an act? That's the kind of situation seen in Sudan.
Have you heard of another crisis affecting billions of people? This plague puts the eternal welfare of all in great jeopardy. Assistance has been sent out, help which is absolutely effective and provides the cure needed. But strong efforts are being made to stop that aid from reaching the ones afflicted.
Paul spoke of this evil interruption in 2 Corinthians 4:3,4: "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." Satan, Paul warned, is doing his best to keep Christ's help from reaching those who need it.
Luke wrote about "an intelligent man" named Serguis Paulus who called for Paul and Barnabas to teach him about Jesus. As they taught, however, "Elymas the sorcerer ... withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith" (Acts 13:7,8). Sadly, Elymas is not the only one who has cooperated with Satan. Many have tried to steer people away from the saving truth of the gospel.
We learn in Romans 1:16 how important the gospel of Christ is: "... it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Salvation is the relief that God has sent from heaven. You, I and all who live need this relief. Our eternal destiny depends on it.
We must take seriously the Bible's warning that Satan is our adversary (1 Peter 5:8). He will do whatever it takes to interrupt the aid God has sent for you and me. Sometimes he'll use people to steer us away from the power of the gospel; at other times he'll distract us with entertainment. His main objective is to keep God's relief from reaching desperate souls.
We have this advantage, however: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). If we see our need for God's aid, He'll make sure we receive it.
Timothy D. Hall

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