What you can do about the Syrian refugee crisis

Does your brain ever go numb because of the size of the problem you’re facing?

Mine does.

And when it does, I’m tempted to mentally check out – to catch up on my ever growing Netflix queue instead since that is a massive problem I know I can manage.

Right now on the other side of the world is the ongoing and mind numbing problem of the Syrian refugee crisis.

And the more I think about it, the dumber I feel.

A few days ago I found myself at a gathering of leaders and pastors from the Middle East. These are some of the key players doing the work of evangelist/relief worker/discipler and all that goes along with finding yourself as the recipient of an unexpected humanitarian crisis of mammoth proportion without any advance notice. How dare they just show up unannounced?

What’s even more astounding is this:

While Lebanon has welcomed over 1 million refugee, it is home to only about 100 evangelical churches. Yeah, I said one hundred. As in 100.

And while Jordan has close to 2 million refugees, it boasts just 55 evangelical churches. Yes. Fifty five.

Then there’s Turkey. A quick google search on Turkey shows that only 0.008% of people in Turkey are considered evangelical while close to 3 million refugees now call Turkey home.

While evangelicals are certainly not the only people helping refugees, I want to focus on evangelicals here because I am one.

And when it comes to helping people in need, evangelical Bible believing Christ followers ought to have the market on this.

Helping people in need and pointing them to Jesus is our calling – every single one of us.

And pastors and leaders in the Middle East recognize it. They have set aside politics for the sake of love. They have refused to settle for other priorities. They have allowed God to interrupt their agendas for the sake of His kingdom.

As a result, they are seeing God do mammoth things in their communities. They are seeing people who have never heard of Jesus come to know and love Him. They are seeing miracles beyond my capacity to describe. They are living first hand stories that they can’t even talk about for safety purposes. In fact, many of them are doing this work in secret for safety reasons, risking their lives daily.

Yet they have refused to settle for fear.

What’s more amazing is that these church leaders have been at it for over 5 years. They are swimming upstream at a pace so fast it’s a surprise they’re still going strong.

I believe they need our help. 

I’m not talking about American politics here or partisan practices and what the US should do in the face of the refugee crisis here.

I’m talking about the Church.

I’m talking about you.

I’m talking about us seeing with fresh eyes.

I’m talking about us awakening to the biggest opportunity of our lifetime:

Muslims are coming to Jesus in droves. They are running to him. They are begging us to tell them about Jesus. God’s kingdom is advancing at a mind boggling pace and most of us are missing it for American Idol.

There are 150 evangelical churches in the 3 countries with the most Syrian refugees. If I had to guess I’d say there are at least 150 evangelical churches in my city of Chicago if not 150 satellite campuses of one single megachurch in my town.

If you are a follower of Jesus and care about the lost, this isn’t just an issue du jour. This is the opportunity of our lifetime.

If you have prayed to be used by God in any shape or form, if you long to see God do miracles such as He did back in the days of the early church, if you wonder where God is and why you don’t see him anymore, you might just be looking in the wrong places. And it might be time to reframe your question.

Instead of asking what you want God to do in your life, you might want to start asking God what He wants you to do with yours.

A few days ago I met Ken, a retired Home Depot employee now working with a Christian ministry in Jordan and travels back and forth regularly from New Hampshire to do this.

Then there’s Annie, the 22 year old college grad who moved to Lebanon to live with a Kurdish family and help disciple them.

And Anna, my friend Carl’s daughter who moved to Beirut to make movies about the refugees. On her own. Just because.

The list goes on.

Many are heeding the call of the Spirit of God and saying yes, Lord, I’ll do it. I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll do what you want me to do.

They’re choosing to put themselves smack dab in the middle of God’s amazing story and they’re loving every minute of it.

Look, this isn’t meant to be a guilt trip.

I mean, I totally get it. You might not be able to pick up and move right now. I know I’m not ready yet. But have we stopped long enough to think about it?

Maybe it’s time we pause and ask God what He wants us to do about the Syrian refugee crisis.

Maybe it’s time we act.

We can start by fighting the temptation to switch the channel simply because we’re overwhelmed.

We can start by refusing to go numb.

Of course here’s a quick and easy way for you to act: become a monthly partner with us. Support our medical and dental work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Our next medical mission trip to the Middle East will take place April 28-May 6. Find out more about it all by clicking here.
Or you can just click here to Donate and as a ‘thank you,’  you’ll get my Free Falling Devotional – A 40 Day Journey Of Faith 
(oh, and feel free to share this article!).

Medical-Dental Trip (Jan 2017) from lina abujamra on Vimeo.

4 thoughts on “What you can do about the Syrian refugee crisis

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