Have you Googled “Syria” lately? Even out of blind curiosity?
I did. I wish I hadn’t. My heart hurts more than I can express. I didn’t have to look. It would have been just as easy to ignore their troubles and comment on red Starbucks cups instead. But God has a way of breaking our hearts for what breaks His.
I will spare you the details of the grotesque images which line up one after another on my screen. Men, women, and children, lying still because their lives have been violently taken away from them, bodies sprawled in unnatural angles.
Lord only knows what happened before their final breath.
Yet, here I sit safely typing words with no worries about where my daughter is, if my husband is safe, or what will happen next. Tonight, I will eat a hot meal, take a warm shower, and sleep in a bad made cozy by the presence of my family.
#SyrianRefugees, our brothers and sisters, created by the same Father are not so lucky. Those who are lucky to escape their borders and survived crossing the Mediterranean Sea, crammed in to a tiny, barely sea worth vessel still have hundreds of miles to travel.
What kind of people will they meet along the way? People willing to help? Others too afraid to receive them with open arms? Or others still who would take advantage of their plight for their own selfish and sinful desires?
I understand the fear America has letting them in, the last thing we want is more bloodshed in our land brought on by terrorists.
But it pales in comparison to the fears these refugees have already faced and those to come. Home and everything they know has been left behind, for some that includes family members who could not or would not leave. Children sent with out being accompanied by an adult; some because they have already lost their parents, parents who gave them to others because they themselves would not fit on the already overcrowded “boat,” and others still who stayed behind to fight.
Hundreds of boats have traversed the sea, parents willing to risk the lives of their children for the sake of saving them. Some boats…don’t make the journey and lives of all ages are lost in frigid waters.
The more I hear about #SyrianRefugees, the more Luke 10:25-37 pounds in my heart.
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
“GO and do likewise.”
I cannot go and help these people, though my heart aches to. I don’t know enough about politics to make a difference in our system or convince governors to open doors.
What I can do, is pray. Not as a last resort, but as the first line of offense and strongest defense.
I invite you too to pray. Ask God what you can do to help. If you feel called to send money, then do it joyfully. If you hear Him tell you to make a difference in our political system, then God bless your efforts. Perhaps you are one of those He is calling to go and tend our brothers and sisters first hand, may His angels guard you in your journey.
Begin with prayer and whatever He is calling you to do. Do it.
Here safe in our homes each of us is making preparations. Planning a grand meal to serve our loved ones and friends. On scraps of paper we begin to jot down gift ideas for the oncoming Christmas season.
Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters from Syria have left everything behind, even their family. Millions risking their lives in order to save them. Children sent on ahead, alone and at the mercy of others. Lord, we pray a your heavenly angels guard their hearts, minds, and bodies.
May each refugee meet Christians along their journey who would guide and encourage them. Let Your light burst through even this dark time, giving them hope for a new life. Peace that surpasses their own understanding. Wrap them in Your loving arms and grant us opportunities to love them as You have loved us.
We earnestly ask You Father, what are You calling us to do? Not as a nation, but as individuals. What are You calling ME to do for Your Syrian children, young and old? Whatever You place on my heart, I commit to fulfill. Grant me strength and courage to obey, trusting in Your plan for my life and theirs.
We know the risk we will take as a nation, bringing Syrian Refugees into our borders, but this risk cannot outweigh saving the lives of the innocent. Even still, we ask Your protection as we embrace Your Call and Command. Shake our hearts free of every hindering fear that would keep us from obeying Your Word to “Go and do likewise.”
Lastly Lord, lest we forget, we lift up our enemies. May Your light piece their lives so that they too may come into Your presence and experience Your unconditional grace. Forgive us for speaking against them in anger and hatred, rather than with the same love You have showered into our lives through the cross.