As my feed on Facebook is filled with photos of refugees and calls to action, I feel my heart tense a little bit. I hate to admit it, but when there are stories like this, I’m usually overwhelmed by how great the need is and how little I feel. What can I really do, other than give money and sign petitions? And after I’ve signed the petitions, now what? I’d think I’d give a homeless family a bed and food, but what can I do when I’m here and they are there?
And then I wonder if these are all just excuses. Am I afraid to help? Afraid of what it might cost me? I don’t want to be someone who looks away when there is a need or doesn’t live what I say I believe. I want to be someone who loves well, even when it is costly.
When I let myself sit with the people of this horror, I feel my mama’s heart ache. How awful to not have the means to care for your sweet babies, to live in fear of your very lives. When I sit and imagine the choice so many of these refugees face, I know I’d probably choose the same: the dangerous, uncertain path over the horrors that await me in my own country. It grieves me to see families so desperate to survive that they would risk death for the chance at life. How utterly gut-wrenching to see the image of that dear boy wash up on the shore. Lord, have mercy. I’m horrified to see what my own wealthy country and others like it have not done, to maintain our own status of comfort. It is at the expense of our desperate brothers and sisters. I recognize that I’m more than likely getting some bad information mixed in with the truth. Even if a fraction of what I’m seeing is true, it is truly awful.
I’m still not sure what my role is. But my heart feels convicted that I can’t sit here and do nothing. I think I’m avoiding the one thing I know I can be doing: praying.
It is so simple, but so powerful and so often ignored. Here’s what I’m praying for today.
Praying for the grace and salvation these refugees need.
Praying that God would save these people.
Praying that the desire for comfort would be replaced with compassion.
Praying that my heart would be broken for the things that break God’s.
Praying that if the Lord has something for me to do, I’d be showing up and asking what it is.
Praying for those with power and influence to use it to do good for hurting people.
And if that is me, may I be granted wisdom of what to do.
I’ve put my name on a petition, asking our country to let in refugees. They say there are risks with it, but there are risks to doing anything worth doing. I don’t see how we can leave these people, these families, these children without help.
Today I signed up to get email from wewelcomerefugees.com. I want to have my heart ready and willing and informed. I want to pray for what the needs are. I want to see the unseen. I don’t want to be driven by fear or comfort. I want to love the way I’ve been loved. I’m still not sure what this means all the way. But I don’t want to pretend I don’t know or look the other way. When I signed up for the email, it asked me if I had a message for the refugees. This is what I wrote:
You are seen.
You are loved.
My prayers are for you.