It’s been a heavy few days in the blogosphere, guys. I’ve seen a number of well-written posts about what is going on in our country (and by very clear extension, our world), and I’m not here to add to the noise or use my little corner of the Internet to make sure you know how I feel about the recent news concerning the status of refugees and immigrants entering our country. BUT, I also can’t pretend that this news hasn’t stirred up a type of hurt inside of me that I can’t ignore — and that leads me here.
So I hope that if you’ve come here to read what I believe the Lord has placed on my heart, you’ll do so with the understanding that I’m not here to find flaws in your party line, argue politics with you, or encourage you to think exactly like I do. I do hope, however, that you are pushed to ask God how He can open your heart to the reality of a hurting world, and that He will use you in mighty ways to change it. It’s my prayer for you, and it’s my prayer for me: to awaken a deaf world.
Let’s lay down the facts that have led me here first: effective this past Friday, our president signed an order that suspends the United States’ refugee program for 120 days, bans all immigrants from seven countries that are majority Muslim, and barres all Syrians from entering the country indefinitely. Moving past the facts, my own observation is that this measure was taken in response to fear (that has also been expressed by many Americans) that the safety of our country is in jeopardy if we allow outsiders to come in.
I scroll past so many things that I disagree with on social media that if I’m being honest, I saw it and I shook my head, and then I continued on with what I was doing. But as I engaged in conversation about it with Jordan and continued to think more about it, I began to feel overwhelmed by the reality that as a follower of Jesus, this should anger me to my core. I thought about Matthew 25:40: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
I thought about my time working at World Relief Durham, and seeing the hope that refugees carried with them so genuinely as they came to this country with the hope of a better life for themselves and for their family. I thought about the sickening photos that have come out of the events happening in Syria, and asked myself what I would want someone to do for me if I was placed in as grim and horrifying conditions as these poor people. And it was in these moments that I realized that this isn’t about politics. The Lord may have used this political moment to fuel a fire in our hearts, but this is about something much bigger: it’s about Jesus, and the fact that He calls us to love others. He calls us to do it even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it scares us. He calls us to a life lived for the sake of the gospel, not for the sake of safety. And I don’t say any of this because I’m your shining star of an example, but because the Lord has made this very real to me over the past few days.
Be encouraged, friends: all throughout the Bible, there are stories of the Lord using the most unexpected people — and many times, the worst of people — to deliver on some of His greatest promises and reconcile the world with Himself. When I look at our country’s leadership, it gives me hope that God is just as capable of using this to bring His people back to Him. And that is a story that is always unfolding, and is the greatest of them all.
In the meantime, I urge you to ask yourself what it looks like to care for the least of these. We live in a free country, a country that others risk their lives to call home: write your representative, and tell them that you oppose the refugee ban. Get involved with your church, and ask how as a community you can help organizations like World Relief continue their efforts to foster and take care of refugees. Be willing to ask the Lord to send you where you are needed, which may mean going to these people to bring them the truth of the gospel. I don’t know what your specific path looks like, but the Lord does — and I hope you’ll ask Him what it is.
We can be discouraged, or we can rise to the challenge of what the Lord is calling us to do. God shouts to us in our brokenness — He really does. It’s why we can look back on the toughest times in our lives, and also know they were the most defining. I think this is what it looks like on the world stage. And with a God as powerful as ours, I believe we’re just as equipped to bring His people back to Him when the stakes get higher. May we pursue the strength to do so.