Videos circulate on social media with captions describing Syrian children who have ‘stopped crying.’ If you have seen one of these short clips, you know what I’m talking about … the empty stare of a traumatized child covered in rubble and dust, as an aid worker tends to their needs. This heartbreaking footage is reality for many.
Children who should be carefree and playing with their peers are facing the darkest moments of their lives. They flee the violence in their own country, and face challenges adjusting to life as a refugee.
In the midst of the evident suffering, it’s common to ask where is God in the midst of all this? Has He turned a blind eye to those who are in desperate circumstances?
When I find myself facing this question, I’m reminded of the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. She is cast out of her home, and begins wandering in the desert—distraught and rejected. When Hagar is in the most devastating season of her life, she encounters God at a stream. He hears her distress and promises to bless her descendants. Hagar’s response reveals an important reminder of God’s character.
Verse 13 states,
“Then she called the name of the Lord that spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees.’”
This is my prayer for the refugees. That they would behold the God who sees them and has never left them.
God did not turn a blind eye to Hagar, and He has not turned a blind eye to Syrian refugees. Believers around the world are called and equipped to take action and be His hands and feet in a broken world.
First and foremost, we can pray that people in refugee camps would encounter the hope found in Jesus, and for the workers who serve in these very challenging environments. We recently received an update from one of our partners in Greece. After 10 months of cultivating relationships and ministering to the Syrian refugees in the area, people are choosing to follow Christ!
Next, we can also take action by continuing to create resources, and plant seeds of God’s truth. OneHope has partnered with Biblica to create a new Book of Hope to address the psychological and emotional needs of refugee children and youth. Starting this year, this resource will be used throughout Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Finally, we must reach out to those in need that are in our own communities. The greatest evangelical outlet of the Church today is still looking for those who have been uprooted and are living in fear and inviting them into your life. The Church cannot look like Christ if we don’t behave like Christ.
Just as God saw Hagar in her pain and wandering, He sees these children. God is actively working in the midst of hard realities and painful circumstances, and we have the opportunity to join Him in that work.