You know all those beauty contestants who answer what they wish they could contribute to the world with a cliché, often ditzy sounding, “World Peace”? Their wish isn’t too far off from many of our hearts’ desires, these days, is it? It is impossible to turn on the news without hearing horrifying reports. It’s usually pretty bad, but right now, the world seems especially full of evil. Often, the lump in my throat prompts me to either pray sincerely or try to block it all out by looking at the newest inane buzzfeed. My heart feels like it is going to completely bleed out when I hear reports of my brothers and sisters in Christ being driven from their homes by radical terrorists, crucified, and even beheaded. I get angry. I mean, I feel a rage, when this news hits my ears. And I especially want to do something when I hear of the children who are being robbed of their childhoods and futures by these barbaric peace thieves.
There are some things that you need to know. According to World Help:
Today, over 5.5 million Syrian children are directly affected by war. A March report compiled by UNICEF revealed that “three years on, Syrian children have been forced to grow up faster than any child should. UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 refugee children is now working and 1 in every 5 Syrian girls in Jordan is forced into early marriage.” What’s more, an estimated 250,000 children today are forcibly associated with armed groups. According to Child Soldiers International, the following countries are reported to have used child soldiers since January 2011: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Israel, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen.
If you need a visual to help wrap your mind around this, go to Target or Walmart and look at the children standing in the toy aisles dreaming of what they’d like to ask for for their birthdays or Christmas. Now, imagine those same children in tattered clothes, some with no shoes, some with emaciated, starving, thirsting, bodies trying to stumble to the nearest refugee camp, which may be hundreds of miles from their homes, some without the accompaniment of their parents. Visualize one of three things in addition to these thoughts for those who cannot make it to the refugee camp due to a lack of resources or because of sheer terror: little boys holding loaded automatics weapon and pointing them at innocent people; little girls either in a wedding dress or a corset to please some sick, perverted person; children watching their family members be brutally murdered before their very eyes; or…you don’t have to use your imaginations for this, because there are graphic photographs to prove it, picture these children with a blow of a swift blade causing their heads to fly off their bodies.
We review WWII history with horror and disgust because of the atrocities that were done to the Jewish people by the Nazis. But, friends, we are LIVING in a period of history where another holocaust of Christians is happening before our very eyes by a rampant force of evil-doers. America has been threatened by these same people. I do not say that lightly or in a sensationalist manner. This is the truth.
The World Help Blog Team shares that, “In a matter of hours, ISIS controlled villages, including Mosul (the ancient city of Ninevah), were emptied of almost all Christians under the threat of death. There were once 60,000-100,000 Christians living in Mosul . . . today there are thought to be a handful. And those who remain will likely be executed in the coming days. ISIS soldiers have stripped the desperate refugees of everything they have. Mothers are not even allowed to take diapers and formula for their children over the borders.”
What if these were our children and families that were being treated this way? God forbid that, but it could sincerely happen. For now, though, we have the freedom to loudly speak up, help, and pray for these brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted so vehemently.
That’s why I write you today. I want to use both the voice of my mouth and the voice of my pen as long as I can to reach beyond my reach. My voice doesn’t sound very loud to ISIS when it insists upon a ceasing of these actions. But my voice and your voice, joined together create a symphony of urgent prayers to the One who can cast down these evil people with one word from His mouth. God’s plan is beyond ours. His power is matchless to that of ours or the United States or even ISIS.
God can do what He wants because, He is God and He rules the universe. But that doesn’t mean that we are to be quiet. Suffering should drive us to fellowship with Christ because He knows each element of pain firsthand. He experienced it all on the cross. When we pray, we not only ask God to move on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Syria, Iraq, and other war torn countries, no, we do it to experience a deep dependence upon Him for help, hope, and peace. We come to Him for what we cannot otherwise fix. We come to Him to thank Him for the tools He gives us to exist and move actively at all. We come to Him to fall on our knees and pray for those who do not have the strength to fight. We come to Him to change the hearts of the evil-doers or to remove them by His mighty, righteous right arm. We come to Him because we are not powerful and strong like He is. We come to Him to ask Him to step in to fix the brokenness in our lives and our fellow humans’ and to take our weaknesses and replace it with His strength. We come to Him to ask Him to fight back for the children of war and their families and to rescue them out of this terror with the victory of His peace that passes all understanding.
Today, September 21st, 2014, is the International Day of World Peace. While the very title of that may make you scoff and say, “World Peace…yeah right,” it’s something we can pray for. Will you join me today in praying for world peace? What better source to ask that from than the Prince of Peace Himself.
And if you are moved to do something tangibly, do it as soon as it’s possible. These people are desperate. They need help. They need hope. They need our prayers.
Come to Him for them.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8