The Beauty of Broken Jars

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)

Editor’s Note: In Malaysia, Christians ministering to the local community are often targets of the government and extremist groups because the act of leaving the local religion to follow Jesus is illegal. Susanna Koh and her family, as well as thousands of other Malay believers, know this persecution firsthand.

In so many ways, I identify with Ruth from the Bible. Like Ruth with her Boaz, I also have a Kinsman-Redeemer. In the absence of my husband, it is God who has done everything for me.

I can honestly say God alone is the restorer of my life and soul. And just like He did for Ruth, He continues to show me He has a future and plan for my life — even in the midst of my fears and brokenness.

For the last 5 1/2 years, I haven’t seen or heard from my husband, Raymond. On February 13, 2017, in broad daylight, he was abducted with military-like precision. It took only 40 seconds. Raymond was a pastor, and when he disappeared, he and our family were leading a ministry to the unreached community. The investigation into his disappearance has now revealed that the police were involved in his abduction.

I could never have imagined a nightmare like this. Often, people ask me how I can continue on with no answers or glimmer of hope about Raymond. I’ve thought a lot about that, and I’ve come to realize the impact of being intentional to connect with Jesus every day. Fear is real and can be extremely powerful. It is a daily battle, and each day I have to put on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6) We all do.

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Each morning, I spend a few hours in prayer, worship and Scripture. I pray God will give me songs and scriptures throughout the day to remind me He’s sovereign over this situation and I can rest in Him. I pray for contentment — to be grateful for what God is doing in my life right now and what He will do. Gratitude centers me and reveals what’s important. So does worship. During worship, I can feel the presence of Jesus, and His presence strengthens me.

Psalm 22:3 says God dwells in the praises of His people. In our praise, God pushes back our fear and draws nearer to us. Even when things seem hopeless, praising Him through worship brings me assurance that God is present with me in my pain and fears. And He is also present with Raymond.

Still, choosing to pray and worship can be hard. It has been so long without Raymond. Sometimes I just don’t know how to pray; we have prayed so many ways, so many words. In those dark moments when fear and weariness seem to be winning, God has taught me to call out to Him for His mercy. I’ve learned He is not disappointed in me when I’m afraid. He knew we would face fear. That’s why so many of His words for us address it.

Over the last 5 1/2 years, being in God’s presence and Word have given me the strength I need to push back the darkness and continue to fight for justice. God has empowered me and emboldened my faith. Before Raymond was kidnapped, I did no public speaking and was actually quite shy. Now, I speak publicly, advocating for the return of Raymond and several others who disappeared in similar ways.

Jesus, thank You for being present with me in my fear. Would You help me to choose You every day and to intentionally sit at Your feet? Please continue to comfort and strengthen Susanna and her family as they live without Raymond. Give them and our global family both courage to live for Your glory and peace to walk in every trial they may face for following You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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