Earlier this week I read this post where a Muslim family had a vision of Jesus. Jesus told them a man named Daniel would visit them and tell them more about him. Sure enough, a missionary from Vermont showed up at their doorstep and said he was Daniel and he was there to tell them about Jesus. The entire family asked to hear about Christ and accepted him.
It is stories like these that show me that God is at work even among, and maybe most among, refugees.
It reminded me of a post I wrote in November about the refugees, when the topic was often in the media. I had some convictions, but got too scared to share them. It’s funny when you run a podcast about obedience that God keeps calling you to do even small things and yet you feel too much fear still to obey.
So, today I’m confessing I disobeyed and yet, I felt God saying it’s not too late to share. So, I guess I want to say today that God is at work in the refugee crisis and I believe he’s inviting us to play a part. It’s clear he doesn’t need us to make himself known, but we have the honor to be part of the body of Christ if we choose.
Many, many other words have been said on the subject of refugees. An ocean of them. But as it turns out, I feel as if I ought to add my drop. (This is a must-read and I like this one too) Let me make my stand on the matter clearly and quickly: I do not oppose letting them in. The more I read about Scripture and listen to people’s stories about how God is working in their lives, the more I am convinced our only job is to love each other at the cost of ourselves. In John 15, Jesus says this is the way to complete joy. Embedded in that is God’s desire to take care of the oppressed, the poor, the naked, the alien. I have been asking God lately who the oppressed are around me. He’s been answering me most recently with the Syrian refugees.
In light of that, I have learned that it is futile to do anything but ask God, if this is what your word says, then will you please make this true in my life? This is the picture of abiding with Christ: you understand what Christ is like through Scripture, you ask him to make you more like that, and then you obey His Spirit when he reveals it to you. What that looks like in this case for you may be to open your home, but it may be to donate financially, or a million different things. I couldn’t say.
I don’t have any other answers aside from that. We must each seek God to know what he requires of us in this time, but I can guarantee you His heart is always with the oppressed.
I recognize the fear. And I recognize it well because it’s the same fear I had before we adopted. The child was not a name or a face, but “an orphan”. And that “orphan” was scary to me. Many, many times I had visions of him shooting us with one of Scott’s guns, coming after me with kitchen knives, or losing it and hurting one of our girls. “The orphan” was dangerous and did I really think it was safe to invite him into my home? It turns out that my son sometimes doesn’t even know the right side of the blade on a knife to use. My family knows I have room to say that because there is a very classic story of me using the wrong side of the knife to cut something as a teenager. The point is: often the fear is unfounded or blown out of proportion.
And man, I get it. Do the vetting. Ask the questions. Let’s be as safe as possible.
But as Jeremy says, this is scary and dangerous. There is no doubt there are risks. But, God never promises safety. Look at his prophets and disciples. Or Jesus himself who was innocent and obeyed His Father to lay down his life. This is not a safe calling. Saying that we’re not safe is not a good excuse to disobey God. He is the God of Daniel and the lions den and Jonah and the whale, after all. Jesus says if you love me, you must obey. So, whatever that thing is he answers for you up there about how to help the foreigner and oppressed, you have to do it, safe or not.
I have pondered whether God is scattering these people and bringing them to our doorstep because many never obeyed the call to actually go to them. Could it be he is bringing them to our doorsteps and saying since you won’t go and make disciples, could you at least let them in and make disciples? I wouldn’t ever try to understand God’s motives. I can’t. He tells me I can’t. But I do wonder what kind of opportunity is staring us in the face that we’re too scared, hard-hearted, or prideful to see.
And so, Christian, my challenge for you and me is to, in prayer, agree with God’s word that he wants to see the oppressed taken care of and then ask what do you require of me?