Dear Syrian Refugees,
I want you to know that I am still praying for you. My heart still hurts when I think about you. I think of you often… so my heart hurts often. It is so hard to believe that it has been almost 6 years since this crisis started. Almost the entire lifetime of my second child. I wish I could tell you this directly – all thousands and thousands and millions of you – but you are not forgotten. In the midst of our “normal” lives here, I can’t shake the fact that your lives have been completely rewritten for you… without your consent and without notice. All of your plans for the future, hobbies, jobs, homes, treasures, routines, and schools – all stripped and gone.
When I say “you”… I realize that I am talking to a lot of you. In fact, 4.9 million of you from Syria alone. Add in the rest of the forcibly displaced people in the world, and we are talking about a population larger than the UK, or the 21st largest nation in the world. (cnn.com)
In the midst of all of these staggering numbers and the heartache that each tally mark represents, I am clinging to hope. My only cause for hope is my belief in a God who cares about the lost, the broken, the hurting, and those who have been unjustly treated. That’s you. He is on your side. And despite what it may look like, I don’t believe He has fallen off His throne. Here’s a letter I found recently that He sent to another middle-eastern city that was in a similar situation a few years back. Although it wasn’t written exactly to you – I believe that the same God who said this to Jerusalem long ago is still present and powerful today.
“Don’t despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate. I, your God, will get rid of them for you. You’ve carried those burdens long enough. At the same time, I’ll get rid of all those who’ve made your life miserable. I’ll heal the maimed; I’ll bring home the homeless. In the very countries where they were hated they will be venerated. On Judgment Day I’ll bring you back home – a great family gathering! You’ll be famous and honored all over the world. You’ll see it with your own eyes – all those painful partings turned into reunions.
-Zephaniah 3 (MSG)
I’m praying this for you – for all of you – today.
Still praying for peace,
A Mom from Iowa
P.S. I wish that my thinking and praying for you could produce immediate results. But in the meantime, I will continue to do the only other two things I know to do… keep talking about the problem, and keep sending aid. And… I promise that I won’t wait until horribly sad pictures of your children hit the media to give. I’ll keep giving regardless of what I see or don’t see… because this is your daily reality.
Aaaah this is beautiful! We were praying this in our church during advent last year, and probably will again this year. I might ask if we can pray it every week.
Lord Jesus Christ our Refuge and Deliverer, who as a child sought refuge in Egypt while fleeing from those who would persecute and harm you. Remember those today who must flee in the same manner, and find themselves in foreign and strange lands, granting them your Presence, your protection, and your provision. Illuminate us to be a shining light upon a hill amidst the dark evil in our world, that we may do our part with hospitality and resources, and that all who are refugees might be led to the brightness of your redemptive love made present by your glorious Incarnation, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Oh I love this prayer. It sums it all up so well! Thank you!!
We support Syria too. We lived there in the 1980s and our first daughter was born there. Heartbreaking.
A painful story, beautifully written. Nothing but heartless brutal cruelty can do this to life.
Thank you – and yes, what is happening is brutal cruelty.