On December 3 of last year, I published a blog about what was about what was happening in Ethiopia being personal. A friend whose father was among the missing has been found and doing well. It had been about 2 months since my friend had last heard from him, and there were times when my friend almost gave up.
As a non-Orthodox Christian, my friend was unable to reach out to anyone at the university my friend attends. Being non-Orthodox Ethiopian means my friend is in danger every day. The divisiveness of the Ethiopian government continues unabated.
The only one my friend could reach out to, besides God, was me. I am glad and humbled to have been there for my friend throughout the long ordeal of not knowing what had happened. It is easy to let fear and uncertainty overcome the human spirit, but my friend never gave in to the darkness. No matter how tempting the despair, my friend pressed on with a strength that can only come from God.
As you may have noticed, I refer to my friend as my friend, since anything could put my friend in danger. I will use no name nor location, since I would never want my friend to be put at greater risk as a result of this blog. The danger my friend faces is quite real and will not betray my friendship.
God does not want us to give in to despair and fear. We are told numerous times throughout the Tanakh to fear not. The message, for Christians continues through what is called the New Testament.
Darkness does exist all around us. God’s light does not stop shining when the darkness threatens to overwhelm but shines brighter than ever. It is the life saver in a stormy ocean that keeps the spirit from drowning.
The darkness has been there since Adam and Eve learned of good and evil. That knowledge led to free will, which we use every day to choose right or wrong. When wrong is chosen, the ripples are sent far and wide.
In the case of Ethiopia, the ripples hit my friend hard. The storm threatened to drag her beneath the surface to a state of hopelessness and despair, but my friend showed greater strength than most I have ever come across in my life. My friend fought the darkness and won every day that my friend’s father was missing.
My friend is descended from ancient Israel, ass all Ethiopians are. It is not just the descendants of Solomon who ended up in the oldest nation on Earth, but also those of at least one other tribe. Ethiopia was a Jewish kingdom. Forced conversions may have altered the religious demographic, but the root of Israel remains.
I have been blessed by God to call this young Ethiopian my friend and humbled by God-given strength my friend possesses. It is a strength found wherever Israelites have been scattered. God continues to watch over the tribes regardless of conversions of the past.