The Face of Suffering & the Hands of Jesus

Syrian refugee mom with her children.
Syrian refugee mom with her children.

I mentioned in a previous post that my sweet mom had a life-altering health event a few weeks ago.  On August 12, she experienced congestive heart failure and nearly drowned on the fluid that was filling her lungs. Dad got her to the hospital just in time. All that might have seemed important that week suddenly faded into oblivion when the life of someone I love was on the line.

Heart failure, until that day, was something other moms experienced.  Not mine!  Every doctor and nurse seemed like a superhero that day.  I know they’re just humans, but in my mind they were angels doing holy work.  She is getting stronger every day and we are all so grateful that this team of able minds and willing hands were there for her at the moment when her well-being was hanging in balance.

Fresh from this very personal family crisis, the spotlight of my attention turned to an international crisis of epic proportions.  Millions and millions of terrified refugees fleeing their homelands, fearing for their lives, are now scattered across the world trying to survive in make-shift camps and borrowed shelters with dangerously few options or resources.

Suddenly something hit me like a ton of bricks – and maybe you’ll think, “DUH, Emily!”  Each of these suffering individuals belongs to someone, just like my mom belongs to me. They are siblings, parents, children, cousins, spouses, friends…most have lost a loved one (or many) unjustly and they are grieving, traumatized, hungry, and utterly destitute.  Many will not even survive the wait for a safe place to stay. These folks need some superheroes…some normal people like us willing to do holy work.

While eating lunch today, I watched a few gripping videos taken 14 years ago today, on 9-11-01.  Tears came immediately, as if the terrorist attacks were happening all over again. That tragic day began a new reality for Americans and people around the world. It seemed, after that day, like anything could happen. And so much has.
Just like 9-11, the refugee crisis is another reminder that this broken world is not our final destination. But we’re here now, and our fellow humans need us.
When I see horrifying images of refugees, terrorized and fearful for their lives, I imagine my mom’s face on just one of them, or my children’s faces on the children… and I realize all over again that these wandering, desperate souls are just as human and valuable as the people I love so very much.
I would never have sat by complacently while my mom’s lungs filled with fluid.  Yet countless numbers of precious people are in imminent danger right this minute.
“We are God’s Plan A,” as my pastor says.  He is so right.  We just can’t turn a blind eye and wait for someone else to step up.
Just when I feel powerless and too overwhelmed to think I could actually make a difference, I remember all over again that we are invited – urged – to join the Savior of the World in His work.  To offer a cup of cold water in His name, so to speak.
We’re ALL His daughters, sons, siblings and loved ones… and he came to seek and to save every single one who is wandering, and to bind up every broken, grieving, fearful heart.  Imagine how anxious He must be to empower us to carry His Eternal hope to a world that, honestly, feels utterly hopeless.
The following is a website to help those of us who follow Jesus understand how we can make a difference in the refugee crisis.  If you know of other ways to help, please add them to the comments.
Check out ways we can make a difference at:

This is big, friends.

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