Two lengthy civil wars occurred in Sudan from 1955 to 1972 and from 1983 to 2005. These wars created an unprecedented environment of exclusion and neglect. The lack of economic, social and spiritual development resulted in egregious suffering, loss of life and opportunities. Widespread poverty and food insecurity were the norms for decades.
Yet South Sudan overcame that to become the world’s newest nation on July 9, 2011. As the 42nd largest country in the world and the 15th largest country in Sub-Sahara Africa, there was great hope and promise. Celebrations were held in Freedom Squares throughout the country. The journey for peace was fraught with difficulty though. Armed conflict broke out in December 2013. Since then there’s been a cycle of fighting and numerous ceasefire agreements. A peace accord, signed in early 2016, formed a transitional government which many hoped would lead to more stability. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Renewed fighting broke out in Juba in July of this year. On a national scale, this shattered the fragile peace process. Locally, people are suffering terribly. Enormous numbers of people have been displaced – about 1.6 million internally and over 880,000 are refugees in neighboring countries.
Yet despite these circumstances, there is hope in the voices of the South Sudanese. There are noble people actively working for and praying for peace. But what kind of peace can we expect? Scriptural peace. It is peace in the midst of great trials, much like what is happening today. In John 14:7, Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” It doesn’t seem possible this peace could exist in South Sudan but it does. It is in the hearts and minds of her people. It is divine and supernatural. They hear Christ’s words to remain calm. They know His peace can affect and overrule their circumstances.
Let us all pray and hope with them. That this peace will soon spread throughout the land.
A’minu Ma Nina. Hope With Us.