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Refugees and the heart of God

July 31, 2017

Imagine the top 50 cities in America and the countless millions of people that live there.  But rather than bustling city streets, traffic jams, restaurants, entertainment, instead you find tents, open sewers, lack of food, poverty, disease and little if any hope of ever returning home.

That’s the case for more than 65 million people we commonly call “refugees.”  The term is used so often, we don’t even pause to think what it means to be forced out of your home, career and life to a place you didn’t choose and you can’t control. 

You instantly go from being a citizen to being an outcast. One day you have a job, home, food, water and a relative sense of security.  In the blink of an eye, all of that disappears.  You find yourself in a strange land, with people you don’t know and little if any access to even basic necessities of life.

Worse yet, the likelihood is that you’ve been separated from your family or loved ones.  In some cases, they’re gone forever.

When we start to understand what it really means to be a refugee, the word doesn’t roll off our tongues quite as easily.  Refugees are the forgotten people of our world, and today there are more than 65 million worldwide.

Aside from the physical needs of being displaced, the biggest loss for all refugees is hope.  And when you consider that most refugees today are from people groups that have limited access to the gospel, there is not only desperate physical needs, but eternal spiritual need.

Jesus knew what it meant to have no home.  In Luke 9 He said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  He knew what it meant to be persecuted and ridiculed.  He knew what it meant to go without food and water as he was tempted in the wilderness. 

Because of that, He also knew how important it was to bring hope and healing to people that were lost and broken.  He brought identity to an outcast Samaritan woman.  He healed lepers who had no place in their own community.  He cast demons out of the possessed.  He fed the hungry and healed the sick.  He proclaimed a better way—a way that leads to eternal life.

We now have the opportunity to proclaim that “better way” to millions of displaced and disenfranchised people around the world.  We may be the only chance they have to hear about Jesus. 

But the natural question is “how?”  It’s likely not possible that we as average people can just jet off to a refugee camp in Lebanon or Turkey.  But we can help those who do.  Refugees literally need everything.  But “everything” doesn’t come cheap.  The resources we have all belong to God, and now I believe God is calling us to use those resources to help the least and the lost.

My prayer is that when we say or hear the word “refugee” it would cause us to swallow a little bit harder, pray a little deeper, and give a little more sacrificially.

| Father, use us to be your voice and hands to those who have no hope.


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Steve J.