Last night my wife and I were sat on the sofa, the children were all in bed and we were unwinding. Our faces were a glare as we both sat in the darkness scrolling through our social media news-feeds. My wife suddenly broke down in tears and I asked her what was wrong.
My wife had seen a horrific picture of a three year old boy, washed up on a beach. He was face down in the sand with the waves washing past him. The little boy was dead, another casualty of the Syrian refugee crisis. The picture had cut deep. We have a little boy of the same age and we could not even begin to imagine a fate such as this for him.
This summers news coverage has filled our homes with images of thousands of desperate people rushing in on Europe’s eastern boarders, or waiting in squalor at Calais for processing so they can begin a new life. Such images invoke different feelings and opinions, but this image undermined such futile politics and really brought the severity and immediacy of such a crisis to the forefront.
Such scenes that we are witnessing (from the comfort of our sofa’s) begs us to ask the question, what is going on? Why is this all happening and what does it mean?
Jesus answered such questions
“you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:6-14
As we turn on the news, these words of our Lord ring truer than ever, as we view the human tragedy of refugees risking all to seek a new life.
So, as Christians, what must we do? How shall we react? What is the Lord saying to us here in these circumstances?
Well our Lord is clear in His answer. He is saying that despite all these ills, the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations”.
This is the task He gave us in the great commission (Matthew 28: 16-20) and in the face of such tragedy it must remain our focus!
We must remember that these people are not just ‘refugees, they are desperate people and they are in great need! And like everyone else they need to hear the Gospel!
Such suffering is an opportunity for us to share the truth of Jesus Christ and the love of God. By sacrificially giving to causes that will support them and most importantly pray for them. As Christians we must be light in the darkness, our God given love for these people must be shown now and used as a platform for the Word of God.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
We must tell these Refugees that the God of Heaven loves them. That He took on flesh to walk in this cursed world and that He came and helped the sick and needy, the weak and the lost. We must show them that God loves the sojourner, the widow and the Fatherless. We must tell them that Jesus can heal you from the trauma of war and that He can give you peace, assurance and a fresh start!
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. “Deuteronomy 10:18
The Bible teaches us that Mankind is naturally sinful. Our greed, lusts and pride will always cause injustice, suffering and war. Jesus reminds us here in Matthew 24:6-14 that because of our Sin this is the norm and our job as Christians remains the same. We are to be God’s means to fight against it with love and kindness.
As Christians we must all be the faithful and wise servant, whose master finds him doing what He has instructed when he returns.” Matthew 24:44-46