Lenten Devotion, Saturday, March 19, 2022: By Bright and Gifty Benfor

You are Never Alone

According to legend, every Cherokee Indian boy was required to spend a night alone in the forest as part of the rite of passage to manhood. The soon-to-be man was taken into the forest by his father who blindfolded him and left him alone overnight. The boy was not allowed to cry out for help and could not remove the blind until morning. After what seemed like a long night alone in the dark forest, surrounded by wild animals and strange sounds, the sun appeared and he could finally remove the blindfold, only to find his dad sitting on a stump not far from him. The father never left the boy! He was there all along to protect him, even though the boy was not aware. Most of us can relate to this story in different ways. 

In early 2020, Bright was finishing up his vascular surgery residency in Morocco and had just been offered a job in Lyon, France. We were all very excited about this opportunity, but that excitement was short-lived as COVID-19 set in just when we were getting paperwork ready to move to France. Suddenly, flights were canceled, borders closed, consulates stopped issuing visas and our plans were put on hold. What we thought would last a couple of weeks, ended up lasting several months and like everybody else, we were eager for all of it to be over. Finally, that day came and traveling restrictions were eased. However, just when we were about to breathe a sigh of relief after going several months without any substantial income, we got that dreaded phone call. “We are sorry Dr. Benfor, we couldn’t wait that long, and had to replace you…” said the voice on the line. At that point, everything seemed dark and nothing made sense anymore. All we could say was, “God, why?” It is important to understand that all of this was happening at a time when our church family in Fez had experienced a very bad split with most of the leadership and members breaking away, but we had remained to help restore the church. Thinking we did not have much time left in Morocco, we had given our all, so much so that we were already physically and emotionally drained at the time this bad news came in. 

Yes, we felt God was far from us at that point, but He proved us wrong. A couple of months later, two unexpected job opportunities came Bright’s way, and one of them brought us to Houston, where we’ve been blessed to be part of South Main!  Like this Cherokee Indian father who never left his boy to himself, God assured us that He was with us every step of the way. In what seemed like a dark moment of our life as a family, He caused his light to shine through and turned our night into day. Throughout this experience, we have been encouraged by His word which says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

In all things, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer for God is with you!

Amen.

 

Bright and Gifty are originally from Ghana but have spent most of their adult life in Fez, Morocco where they met as students. While there, they served in the Protestant Church of Morocco for more than a decade. They have been married for six years and blessed with three kids: Ephraim, Eliana, and Eli.


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