“As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.” Psalm 141:7
I have studied this word “Sheol” for years. There is no definitive answer as to its original Hebrew meaning; it has been greatly mystified, and perhaps for good purpose. Biblical references range from “Jacob would mourn there (Gen. 35, 38); David abides there in peace (I Kings 6); the warriors have their weapons with them (Ezek. 27), yet they are mere shadows (“rephaim”; Isa.9, Ps. 5,). The dead merely exist without knowledge or feeling (Job 13; Eccl.5). Silence reigns supreme; and oblivion is the lot of them that enter therein (Ps.13, 17; Eccl. 10). Hence it is known also as “Dumah,” the abode of silence (Ps. vi. 6, 10, 17, 17); and there God is not praised (Isa. 15). Still, on certain extraordinary occasions the dwellers in Sheol are credited with the gift of making known their feelings of rejoicing at the downfall of the enemy (Isa. 9, 10). Sheol is a horrible, dreary, dark, disorderly land (Job 21, 22); yet it is the appointed house for all the living (ib. 23).
It seems to me that part of the Sheol mystery is directly linked with the Pascal mystery; precisely at the most quiet span of time—all the world suspended in Sheol—and just when we thought our last Hope had been entombed in darkness and chaos, Love Arose.
Earlier this week, I wrote of our deep and unexpected loss with the death of young James Akech Wol from New Life Ministry. There is no clear reason for his death, other than the fact that the South Sudanese government has stolen so many billions of dollars from their own people—which had been earmarked for schools, medicine, and infrastructure—that the entire humanitarian community cries out against them, “South Sudan is currently in one of the world’s worst famines in history, and it is a man-made famine.”
Even as we grieve the physical loss of James, we take rest in that he is not silent; his life goes on with Christ. So what is this Sheol to do with us? At least one intent is to speak to the HERE AND NOW when we might be tempted to waste our precious lives walking around like shadows shading the earth without deep feeling or comprehension of Who we are and what we are to be about. Let us Rise Up and leave deep tracks of Love, no silence and mere shadow passing for us! Rather than sending billions in USAID medicine, food, and funds, dropped and left to corrupt officials to sell on the black market, Make Way Partners is building our own hospital. The Faith, Hope, and Love Medical Mission.
With nearly 13 years under our belt, prayerfully building and honing a powerful indigenous network, which oversees every last grain of food and every pill of medicine distribution, our track record proves that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to overcome corruption and inexplicable death; you just need a core group of men and women of courage and integrity. God has blessed us men, women, and children with both.
If you haven’t joined our FHL support team yet, please click here for more information or to donate today.
Death be not proud, for while we accept God uses you to birth us safely to His eternal side, we know many of our children still have precious lives to live and work to be done on this side of heaven, transforming the nation of South Sudan, by raising up one orphan at a time!
Stay tuned for more on the LIFE of James Wol and his fellow graduates; track their journey through university exams to acceptance and send off!