The worst Refugee Crisis since World War II is happening. Right now.
Fellow human beings who believe themselves to be dead already are taking to the seas in un-seaworthy inflatable rafts in desperate attempts to reach possible asylum shores. We've all seen the picture of Aylan, the three-year old found face-down in the sand, whose lifeless body in a little red shirt and sneakers was carried away by a Turkish police officer.
They identified him and contacted his father--the man whose wife and two children were lost to the sea when their raft capsized. The last words to leave his boyish lips were "DADDY, PLEASE DON'T DIE!" as his father tried desperately to keep him and his brother above the waves and held them as they died in the ocean, in his arms. The man says he wants to take his dead wife and dead sons back "home," bury them, and be buried with them.
Those are his words. I don't blame him.
They were trying to reach Canadian shores. They had family in Canada who had desperately tried to get them Refugee Status so they'd have a place to land. But Red Tape was victorious, and as is often the case, death ensued.
My whole life I've believed the Myth of Scarcity. I've listened to those who say "we cannot take them; there will not be enough for us all." I've chosen to say "not my circus, not my monkeys," and I've turned my face away from the crises that happen all around the world, all day long, while I sit and drink coffee in a safe and quiet little shop and check Facebook and answer emails and do some studying.
But here's the thing. I am a Christian. I believe there is a God who loves us, never leaves us, and came back to earth to show us Himself so that we may be rescued. My God gives refugees a home. The people who carried the Word of God in their hearts for thousands of years before Christ came? They were called Israelites. They were the people God chose to carry His message through the generations. He pulled them aside and said "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! 2"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overcome you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flame shall not consume you." (Isaiah 43)
They were refugees; nomads. I am alive and have a written Bible on my nightstand because SOMEONE, at SOME POINT, took My People "in." I am the product of a Refugee People. It is because of kind-hearted humans who gave my Refugee People safe shelter and warm food that I even exist and that I have a written record of the God who created me...and the Savior Jesus who came back to rescue me.
More recently than the ancestry of my faith is the ancestry of my physical ethnicity. I come from Germans and Czechoslovakians and Irish--from people who knew the ravages of war and famine and drought and plague. I come from a line of people who were forced to leave their homes and flee, at different times and for different reasons. And I'd bet my life that, somewhere along the way, some kind-hearted family opened their door and said "Come in. Come stay. You can sleep here with us. You will be safe under our roof." It is simply impossible that not a single person in my entire family tree has had to seek refuge. I believe, in fact, with 100% confidence, that people with whom I share blood, though now long-deceased, were taken in and given refuge by people whose blood, skin, family-line, and ethnicity were different from theirs.
I sit here today as a product of unrelated people who stepped in and said Not On My Watch to the refugee crises of their times. Both my faith and my physical existence are the products of people who were Once Refugees and Then Rescued.
And so, I have no logical choice but to believe what God says. Time and time again our God tells us that scarcity is a myth. There is always enough. I think of the Widow of Zarephath, and I wish she were here to look into my eyes and say "there will be enough." But I can read her story; I can hear her words echoing in my soul. I cannot get them to leave me::
Elijah, the prophet, was hungry. He needed someone to take him in; to feed him. So, he asked the widow for some food.
But she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die." 13Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14"For thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth.'"
She had nothing. In fact, she and her son were preparing to die. But Elijah said do not fear. Elijah said "scarcity is a myth; I am hungry; feed me first, before you feed yourself and your starving son, and The Lord will provide."
She believed the prophet. She believed God. She used the last of her oil, the very last crumbs of her flour, and she gave her last loaf of bread to the man who knew God's Words. She gave all she had to a man who was displaying the Face of God.
And God's promise did not return void. His promises never do. She obeyed...she trusted...and God filled her bowls. God gave her abundant life because she was willing to give up her own life for the sake of believing Him.
When the Israelites (my people...our people) disobeyed God and were made to wander 40 years in the wilderness, He gave them manna (Exodus 16). He told them to only gather as much as they needed to sustain them for one day. No more; no less. Sometimes, they didn't believe He'd send more the next day and so they gathered extras. Just in case. And those "extras?" They'd immediately become infested with maggots. The Israelites (slowly) learned this: God will provide Exactly Enough. Do not take more than you need. If you obey, everyone will have Exactly Enough; everyone will be satisfied; everyone will eat today.
Do we not want the same? Do we want our brothers and sisters to have enough, as we have enough? That is a serious question, and our honest answer will determine our actions in the face of this Crisis.
In the New Testament, God commands us to not be anxious. He reminds us that He clothes the lilies of the field and the birds of the air--they always have enough, so we will too. (Matthew 6)
There are angels among us, you know. Can you see the face of Christ in these refugees braving waves in rafts and crawling to hopeful safety on sandy shores? Jesus condemns those of us who do not feed and clothe the least among us because it is in them that He is found. He says "42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me." Those to whom he is speaking ask "but Lord, when did we see you?" He replies "to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." (Matthew 25:42 ff) When we open our arms to those fleeing, we are opening our arms to Christ.
The truth that SCARCITY IS A MYTH is all over the Bible. You can hardly turn a page without, in one way or another, being reminded that The Lord Our God Provides Enough. Satan wants us to believe we must hoard; must save ourselves; must make sure me and mine are taken care of. God wants us to believe Him when He says that He will take care of me and mine...and my job is to take care of you and yours.
Ann Voskamp has faithfully provided us with some very practical, very real solution-oriented ways we can help. YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO SOLVE THE ENTIRE REFUGEE CRISIS. You are being COMMANDED BY GOD to help Just One. To do The Next Right Thing. To stare at the pictures; to look into the faces; to not turn away...to allow your heart to be broken for what breaks the heart of God. In Psalm 51:17, David says "my sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart." Let us pray and move with David. Let us sacrifice our stone hearts for ones that break. Broken hearts suck. They hurt. They make life Hard. But you know what? Broken hearts call us to action. Broken hearts make us real. Lord, forgive us for our apathy and put fire in our hearts to act. "We can turn a blind eye to the poor all we want, but it could have turned out that we were the poor."
We can literally put some stuff like underwear and peanut butter in a box and SEND IT TO GREECE for people stranded on the islands there.
If you’d like to help Syrian refugees stranded on the Greek Island of Lesvos, see the list below, and mail to:
It's even possible to be a normal, everyday family and take take a boat into the waves and physically rescue people.
(Or send money to those who are.)
I will leave you with a story. It's a blog post I've been meaning to finish for over a year now, and just this morning I saw it sitting on my desktop, presumably still unfinished. I read it and realized...well, I think I said all I wanted to say.
The story seems apropos in light of my heart on the Refugee Crisis, and maybe it will stir your heart and spur you to action as it spurred me.
December 23, 2014
This is a call to Our Countries to become the Wings of God, the Arms of Christ, by making space. And by "our countries," I mean "US." We can open our homes; we can rescue those in rafts. We have enough food. We have enough clothing. We have enough medicine
We have enough.
Come, refugees. It is safe here. Our homes; our doors; our hearts are open to you. Because we believe in the God who created all that exists and promises us that He, the Creator of the Universe and the Maker of our Souls will always, always provide enough.
hey, i'm jordan.
i write here because i think our words are worth sharing.