Olive Aneno was born in a region of Northern Uganda terrorized by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Although she grew up in unimaginable poverty, she had a grandfather who loved her very much. He took her to church, and when she was five years old, he tried to get her into school. The entrance test was simple, yet she failed it. “Even at the age of five, I dreamed of learning English. My dream was crushed that day when I failed the test of being able to touch my opposite ear. I couldn’t start school, and I was devastated,” she says. The very next day, though, she was safe at home when soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army stormed the school. Every child in it was abducted and taken to the southern part of Sudan for training in the LRA. “It was clear God’s protection was on me,” Olive says.
When she was six years old, she was awakened in the middle of the night and told to take her blanket and run into the woods and hide. The Lord’s Resistance Army had again moved into her village and was killing everyone they found.
Little Olive ran for her life. In the woods, she found a thick bush, covered her head with the blanket, and hid in its branches. Though trembling with fear, the little girl eventually fell asleep, only to be wakened by movement around her. Terror gripped her again when she realized a large python was slowly wrapping itself around her body. “I couldn’t move because I was so afraid,” she says. “All I could think to do was repeat the first Bible verses I ever learned, and so I began to say them out loud over and over again.” As the snake finished coiling itself around her and she began to feel it tightening, she continued to whisper the words,
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . . Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23, KJV)
Suddenly, for no reason other than the fact her shepherd was protecting her, the snake began to relax its grip. Just as slowly as it had coiled around her, it released her and slithered away into the night.
Maybe you find yourself in what feels like a death grip of worry and fear, or perhaps you’re searching for encouragement and hope, in need of someone to restore your soul. Whatever you’re struggling with, I can promise you this: if you look to the Lord and His word, you will find healing for your soul and your life.
How can I make that promise?
The answer can be found in the word “restoration.” Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “the act of bringing back to a former position or condition.” In other words, our modern definition is more of an idea of restitution or reinstatement. It is undoing damage by making things the way they were. But the Bible’s definition of restoration is a little different. Throughout the Bible, God rewards people for their faith by making up for any losses and giving back more than they had before. Think about Job, who uttered the line, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, KJV). Job was a wealthy man who lost everything—his home, his wealth, even his family— in the course of one day as a test of his faith. Ultimately, we’re told, God restored it all by giving him back twice as much. God can heal your soul and heal your life in such a miraculous way you will find yourself to be better than ever before.
To read more about how to heal your life and your soul, download my book, Restoration, for FREE today through June 22, 2020.