If you are like me the Syrian Refugee crisis crept up on you unawares, until photos of a small child dead on the beach were posted. It was shocking as a mother to see a wee babe alone and deceased from what must have been a traumatic event. I didn’t even want to read more about the situation anticipating that it would make me cry some more and increase my feelings of helplessness. But I couldn’t just read a headline on that article and consider myself informed, it didn’t seem honouring or respectful to the loss of life, so I read on.
As painful as it is to delve deeper into why parents would be running from something so terrible that they risked their child’s life it has opened my heart and eyes to what is going on in the world around me. I know that I must see and ache with the heart God has given me for it reflects His own heart.
As I have been researching and trying to grasp the refugee situation I’m realizing that I cannot write this post or any post about the Syrian refugee crisis as an expert. I am a stay at home mom reading a few articles here and there between kid chaos and loads of laundry. What I am learning is a mere glimpse of reality and it’s hard to feel like I understand any truth about the situation. It makes me feel like I have nothing to offer, either to the reader or the refugee.
Its become clear to me that similar to almost all types of conflict, the initial issue is rarely the issue. There is a deeper heart issue here for me to learn. Even talking down my knowledge and lack of expertise points glaringly to the issue; I am making excuses not to act.
There are so many other things we would rather be doing and excuse ourselves from following the call of Christ and caring for those in need.
We would rather choose comfort instead of courageous compassion. We would rather commercialize Christmas then give to those in need . We would rather let someone else take care of these things because we have enough on our plate. We would rather let fear drive our actions instead of love (an amazing blog post about that here). We would rather let skepticism about organization’s motivations and financial integrity stagnate us from researching and making informed choices of where to donate. We would rather not look at graphic pictures, not have new refugee neighbours, not have a changing cultural landscape then help the vulnerable.
We would rather choose ourselves and our comfort than choose the life and action of our Saviour. A Saviour who never chose himself but who chose us over and over again.
The world will continue to erupt in crisis. Our towns and neighbourhoods will continue to have needs and disparity. We will be continually faced with the choice to remain comfortable and stagnant in our lives or follow whole heartedly. To follow Christ we will have to risk and give up some earthly things perhaps, but we will never risk losing eternity with a God who loves us extravagantly.
‘”Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
James 1:27 NIV
It is overwhelming to consider all the needs and hurts in the world, but this should not stagnate us. If the faith we proclaim is sincere and our hearts long to show our love for God, our actions will show that.
For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
What excuses are you allowing to keep you from action? It is not just our response to the Syrian refugee crisis that we make excuses for not acting, there are many needs in our towns, neighbourhoods, and families. If not the refugees then who or what else are you brushing aside? Will you let God give you the love and compassion to see those in need?
We can pray that God will open our eyes and hearts to and build from there. Start bite size, but allow yourself to be moved and for God to transform your heart into one that reflects His compassion.
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