Dear Readers, this is not what I typically write about, but this post was stirring in my heart, and I needed to share it. I make it no secret that I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Those who aren’t are welcome in this community. This post is a personal reflection and a call for those who are Christians to stop and think and pray before responding to the refugee crisis.
This past Monday night, I sat in our church’s women’s Bible study meeting, but my mind was anywhere but there. Instead, it fast forwarded to the future.
Right before I had closed down my computer to head to the study, I had seen a blurb on Facebook about 45,000 Syrian refugees coming to the United States. The post came with a warning about terrorists infiltrating these thousands.
I won’t feign courage; fear flooded me in this moment.
All I could think about were my girls–my sweet, cuddly, innocent babies. All I could think about was a world where they might have to fear to leave their own homes, might have to hide to worship Jesus, might have to deny His name or face death. Something that Syrian Christians are already doing.
When I got back home that night, I clicked back to that Facebook page and began typing my name to sign a petition to hopefully prevent these tens of thousands from entering our country.
My fingers shook, my heart raced, and my nerves pulsed with anxiety, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I slid my cursor to the “X” and clicked off the page.
God didn’t leave me there.
I woke up yesterday morning feeling conflicted and convicted.
On the one hand, I want to see our country remain a safe haven, compared to the majority world. And in all transparency and selfishness, I want my children secure.
Over the past few days, I’ve watched as what seems to be a new world war begins to unfold. I’ve seen my political views at war with my spiritual views, and I’ve seen God’s Word knock me down to my knees.
The simple truth is this: I’m scared. But I’m also broken, and God has given me compassion.
This whole situation is complicated, and both “sides” of our very divided nation state valid arguments.
Why risk our nation’s safety to help those who might hurt us?
Why provide for the destitute from another country when those in our own go hungry and homeless as well?
How can we prepare our children for a world that is hostile to the faith of their parents?
In the face of it all, how can we be both wise as serpents and gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16)?
Image Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse
In order to answer all of these questions, we must seek the Lord in prayer, and we must go to His Word– not to Fox News, not to CNN, not to the Democrats or President himself, not to the Republicans or GOP frontrunners, but, for those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, we absolutely must seek out the wisdom only found in the Bible.
It’s interesting that the theme verse for our women’s Bible study this year is Ephesians 6:12: “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Our group recently completed reading Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God. I missed several weeks, so I am still finishing it on my own. The entire premise of this study is that those of us who believe in Jesus must put on the armor of God, starting with the sword of the Spirit (the Bible) every single day.
For our battle is not against flesh and blood. God’s Word is clear that there is a greater battle going on, and there is more at stake than earthly peace and security.
He never promised us we would not have trouble in this world; in fact, he said the exact opposite (John 16:33).
Those of us who have spent our lives in first-world stability have never had to face true persecution that is not only common but expected by our brothers and sisters in Christ in much of the world.
No, Jesus never promised a trial-free life, but he did promise that He has overcome this world (John 16:33). And those of us in Him can overcome it as well.
I am not here to convince or sway or inspire you to choose a side because, friends, I’m not on one. “Conflicted” is the very best word to describe how I feel at the moment.
I do not have answers. So I will simply present you with God’s Word:
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” ~James 4:17
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” ~Philippians 2:3
“Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” ~Luke 10:30-37
And then this quote from the theologian and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was eventually executed for his stand on the Holocaust:
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
So, how, then, should those of us who are Christians react to this crisis?
Pray for the refugees. Pray for world leaders. And, yes, let’s pray for the terrorists too.
Pray for our hearts and hands to respond in line with God’s Word.
And when we run out of words to pray, we can pray for the Spirit to intercede on our behalf (Romans 8:26).
2. Read God’s Word.
By nature, I am a feeler. But feelings are fickle.
We cannot rely on feelings or even logic in response to this situation. We must seek God’s Word and allow His words to dictate our response.
3. Disciple our children.
This is huge, friends, HUGE.
Do you know one reason why I fear for my children? I feel like I am not adequately preparing them for the fight.
The weight of discipleship is always heavy; it’s always hard.
But our generation cannot afford to lose the next. We must discipline ourselves to disciple. We cannot rely on our churches or Christian schools or youth groups to instill God’s Truth into the hearts of our children.
It is our responsibility.
That means we teach God’s Word to our little ones. We must “teach them to (our) children, talking about them when (we) sit at home and when (we) walk along the road, when (we) lie down and when (we) get up (Deut. 11:19).”
4. Stop unwholesome talk.
Our nation is divided. And it seems that Christians are leading the pack in divisiveness.
I have friends who are followers of Christ and are conservative and Republican. I have friends who are followers of Christ and are liberal and Democrat.
And it saddens me to see both “sides” spew hatred. You know what? The enemy loves when Christians talk down to each other because when we are divided, we are weak.
It’s time for honest, respectful, agree-to-disagree-and-compromise conversations.
Too much is at stake for vain arguments. Our fight it not against each other, and we must remember that.
Image Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse
While many of us would love to drop our lives here and fly across oceans to help those in need, it’s just not feasible.
I’m thankful for reputable, God-honoring organizations who are being the hands and feet of Jesus to those around the world who need Him so badly.
We can support and give to these organizations.
I am sure there are a lot of amazing organizations helping with this crisis, but one my family personally recommends is Samaritan’s Purse.
Read more about their work in this current refugee crisis here.
This heart-moving video of Samaritan’s workers welcoming refugees upon their arrival to Greece had me in tears yesterday. It is well worth five minutes of your time to watch it. (If the video is not showing up below, you can click here to watch.)
The Rising Tide – Europe Refugee CrisisYou’ve probably seen footage on the news of refugees arriving in Greece by boat, but you’ve probably not seen anything like this. You’ve heard opinions about who they are or what they want, but you can see it firsthand in this video. These are the ones lying destitute on the road, and we must be the Good Samaritan. As team leader Dan Stephens shares, “We are the first faces they see when they land.” It’s our calling to show them the love of our Savior, and that is what many of you have helped us to do by your generous gifts. Learn, pray, and get involved here ▶http://bit.ly/1WNfyDO
Posted by Samaritan’s Purse on Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Safety is an illusion, friends.
I have dealt with fear my entire life, but we are never guaranteed to be 100% safe. A few weeks ago, my next-door neighbor’s home was broken into. The robber broke a window and climbed right in.
We installed an alarm system. I came home two days ago to the alarm sounding. I still don’t know what triggered it, but I have to trust a God who is bigger than my fears. If I don’t, I will drive myself crazy (and you will, too).
But we can have peace, despite what’s happening in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, our nation, and our world.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~Jesus, John 16:33