I just got back from a mission trip to Lebanon where we provided medical and dental care to hundreds of Syrian refugees.
Remember them? Millions – literally millions – of Syrians have escaped the terror in their land and have ended up in foreign lands, destitute and broken.
We the followers of Jesus are called to care about refugees. Remember the good Samaritan? Even the most beginner Christian is familiar with the language of loving your neighbor as yourself. If you need convincing then you might need a dose of God’s grace yourself.
The truth is that I never thought I’d help any Syrians ever.
I grew up in Lebanon and left my home country in the 80s in the middle of a bad civil war. Our enemies were Israel in the South and Syria in the north. Shortly after we left Lebanon, Syria occupied my country for a while. That the Lebanese aren’t natural fans of the Syrians is an understatement. To think that God would ask me to go back and help Syrians, well it never crossed my mind.
But God has plans all His own.
So I went back home and sat in the upper room of a Lebanese Church trying to figure out what in the world God was up to. I listened to hearts beating and touched battered worn out skin, I looked into terrified eyes and smiled when I could. It didn’t feel like much. Yet slowly one by one each pair of eyes found mine: grateful. Some old some young, some with obvious wounds, some with hidden ones, some even a little bit confused but every last one of them grateful.
Grace has a way of surprising you. You don’t think you need it until it’s yours for the taking.
As I handed out meds I heard the untold stories. Women who had given their lives to Jesus and lost their families – still smiling. Men who had prayed and seen God heal their families from cancer now rejoicing. Young adults who had escaped ISIS now praising God for His goodness. I had gone to Lebanon to help Syrian refugees but found out I was simply getting to know my extended family.
Grace has a way of reminding us of who we are: no matter what our passport says, we were sinners when Christ loved us. We were strangers and He claimed us as His own. We were broken and He healed us. We were hurting and He comforted us. We were homeless and He adopted into His family. Yeah, grace still has a way of bowling me over every single time.
Do you ever wonder how you could put a dent in the refugee crisis?
Perhaps it’s as easy as saying yes to grace, when you have no idea what God is up to.
Looking for more resources to help you get out of your comfort zone and show grace? You’ll enjoy this teaching from my Book Stripped.