While I was traveling in Europe a few weeks ago, it was nearly impossible to escape the news stories about the refugee crisis. The initial reaction I had was “this is so overwhelming!”. It seems like an insurmountable situation. It is hard to imagine that there will be enough resources to meet the vast needs. But then a story would arise of people taking in migrant families, or people meeting them on the streets with diapers and clothes. These people are fleeing unspeakable evil and for all they know, it won’t be over even after they cross the many borders to the places they are trying to seek refuge. I have been reading “Counterfeit Gods” by Timothy Keller the last few days and was struck by his explanation of hidden idols outside of our hearts – these are the idols of our culture and society. He quotes an American theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote about the corporate egos of entire nations and the idolatrous power of pride and prosperity. When we let our national pride and striving for prosperity become so important in our lives that it is an idol, something we put before God, then it leads us so far from God’s call. So when I ponder why European countries and America have such a trepidation about openly accepting these people who need our help, it stands to reason that our fears that we will lose our national identities or the security of our lifestyles are what makes us want to push this off as someone else’s problem and hope that our lives won’t be effected.
We can sit around and hope that politicians and governments will solve the problem, but we need to realize that this is a humanitarian emergency. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing the Middle East, many on the run for a year or longer, and they lack basic resources. The majority are women and children, and most are Christians. Thankfully there are organizations like World Help who are set up in key areas to help provide food, water, shelter, and basic medical care. As they leave their homes and jobs to try to avoid death or capture, most having witnessed horrific and traumatizing events, they are starting to lose their hope along with their dignity. As Vernon Brewer wrote
I cannot relate to being brutally persecuted for my faith. I won’t even pretend to know the kind of suffering they endure. But as the body of Christ, we are all part of the same family.
If one part hurts, we all hurt. This is a sign of solidarity…of unity…of hope in a God who is strong enough to comfort and protect His people.
It reminds me to pray. It reminds me to trust. It reminds me that I cannot afford to be complacent in my faith when my brothers and sisters are dying for theirs… When people are dying you don’t need to ask more questions or weigh the cost of inconvenience — you simply need to help
Even if we can’t understand the massive struggles these people face, we can’t be complacent and hope someone else will act.
I strongly encourage you to check out the various ways in which you can be part of returning hope. Prayer is a vital component of this.
And also read some of the stories to better understand just how dire this is:
Defeating ISIS with the word of God
The Christian story is one of hope. We share the Gospel when we are bearers of hope. When we restore hope to the hopeless. By being the hands and feet of Jesus, lives can be changed and the impact is eternal.