If you’re like me, you’ve sat and read or watched the incredible exodus of refugees out of Syria. It is unbelievable and heartbreaking to me that there are people fleeing their countries, their homes… everything and everyone they know to escape terrorists marching forward to destroy anything and anyone they don’t agree with. It’s unbelievable that while I sit in my home and watch this unfold on my computer and on my TV, there are men and women willing to board packed trains with thousands of others, not knowing their destination, only knowing it is not where they left, only to be wrenched from that same train and pressed into internment camps. Willing to board boats where they are crammed in tighter than any of us can imagine to make desperate journeys that, as we’ve seen graphically this week, can end in death. It is unbelievable to me that families are being blown to the four winds without knowing if they will ever see one another gain. I can’t let go of the image of a train car packed with people… and parents on the outside shoving their children up through windows into the hands of strangers because they themselves can’t fit on board. Handing their children over to strangers. Strangers. In the hopes the future without them will be better than the past with them.
And in my whole life, I have never felt so helpless. I know that there are many stripes of religions fleeing, but I also know that a greater many than most people realize are my brothers and sisters in Christ, facing the kind of persecution we in America can’t even conceive. I find myself praying, waking in the night praying… but even though that’s our greatest power, it doesn’t feel like enough. It feels like there is something I should be doing. Some action I should be taking. I’ve stood in awe of those saying, “We’ll let you stay in our homes!” And I see the love of God moving throughout the world. Moving for these people who are losing so much more than we can fathom.
I was chatting on Facebook with a friend in Austria the other day, and she was on her way out the door to buy shoes for the refugees who have made it that distance. Not only are her prayers in action, but so are her hands and feet. She’s on the front lines, and she’s not sitting idly by watching it all happen. She’s doing something. Even the act of buying shoes is something. And when we closed our conversation, I still sat here and wondered… what can I do?
I stumbled across Ann Voskamp’s blog post “5 Ways to Stand Up and Be the Church in the World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since WWII” (link in that title and in the graphic above), and it gave me an answer. So today, I wanted to share it with you all.
First, though, we pray. If you’re not a fall-on-your-face and pray kind of person, maybe it’s time to spend a little time with your nose in the carpet and your hands stretched out to Jesus. (Truthfully, the only other thing I can think, besides What can I do? is There but for the grace of God go I.) The post I referenced lists a whole lot of organizations who are working in this crisis and others like it. Research them, choose one, do something. As the blog says, “Do just one thing.”
Do just one thing.
If we all do just one thing, think of the ripple that will become a tidal wave.
Because the one thing we can’t afford to do is nothing.