I hardly know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with my bathroom mirror. I have a bad habit of forgetting to clean it. Tooth paste, makeup dust, and dried on water splashes are what I dodge when I try to see my reflection before heading out to tackle the world. And right in the middle of the top of my mirror, hangs a necklace. It’s a simple black cord with a polished tan rock in the middle and an ichthys fish symbol. I think it was either my Granddaddy or my Uncle who brought it to me from the Holy Land years and years ago. It’s not the kind of jewelry I normally wear. The rock would be too heavy on my neck and the size of the stone is just a little too blaring for my typical wardrobe. But I kept it because it was special. I dangled it from my bathroom light there in front of my mirror a couple years ago to remind me to pray for my brothers and sisters in Syria who are being persecuted. Many times, I’ve remembered to pray for them. But more often than not, I’ve missed chances to come before our Father on their behalf. I haven’t worn the weight of their burdens like I should. And just like I’ve dodged the yuckiness on my mirror to see myself, all too often, I’ve avoided getting in the midst of these dear people’s grime. I’ve looked away from the disturbing images of the beheadings of fathers, mothers, and children, the reports of sex trade and brutal rape, the photographs of children who washed up dead on shores trying to escape, and the distraught faces of fresh young widows with empty arms. It was too heavy for me to carry in my free world, where I’m told to focus on taking care of my own issues. I didn’t want to let it go, but I also didn’t carry the weight of these people’s plight like I should with my prayers and my actions.
Then the little boy’s body washed up on the shore a small number of days ago. He had a name: Aylan. He had a brother and mother who drowned also. And he had a dad who loved all three of them so so much. I saw my heavy necklace again. I remembered what it was like to lose a son whom I so desperately wanted to run on earth’s shores with tiny toes from sand castle to sea-shells and I thought about that little boy’s family, who just wanted to escape brutality and trade it for peace. I couldn’t ignore the stuff that I was dodging to take care of myself any more. I had to start DOING something about it.
When we put our hands in motion to take care of what clouds our reflections, we soon see the clearer image of God in us. It’s not about seeing myself all put together and presentable for the world. It’s about letting the hand of God move mine to wipe away what makes Him less visible through my whole self.
I don’t have as many dollars to give as I’d like. But a few months ago, my husband and I made the decision to ask God to make much of our little by giving to WorldHelp to help a C-130 full of supplies make its way to Iraq to bring immediate and long term hope to people who left everything they owned and knew to escape the terrors of ISIS.
Now, there are MILLIONS more people trying to find refuge in new borders. Some nations have now valiantly opened their borders to take care of the least of these. Some of the citizens of these nations have graciously welcomed people to their new home and cheered them on. And some people and governments have willingly let people drown, rather than offering a helping hand.
I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be a well-equipped, honest search and rescue boat. I wish I had a real boat and could sail around the ocean, rescuing people who just want to live. There actually are people who are literally doing that and I am SO thankful for that.
So, meanwhile, what can I do?
I can pray. I mean really really pray for these people, many of whom are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I can pray for those who are persecuting these dear souls to be genuinely transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I can pray for the Christian workers and other relief agencies that are boots on the ground, helping these people be rescued, recovered, and restored.
I can give. Even if it’s a small amount of money, I can give to organizations like WorldHelp that provide medical assistance, clothing, shelter, food, clean water, educational resources, seed money for sustainable income, and hope centered on the Word of God.
I can spearhead. I can help organize a drive to collect much-needed items for refugees. Perhaps there’s a reason why God didn’t let us sell all of our clothes and shoes at our second yard sale of the year. I can march my little self down to the United States Post Office and mail a box of supplies to refugees who have been taken in by countries like Greece. Maybe I can even figure out how to write notes in their languages to let them know I’m praying for them, that they’re not forgotten, and that there is hope through Christ.
I can use my voice to ask others not to ignore the stones in the necklaces that hang in their own mirrors. I can encourage people to rally together and recognize that many hands make the work light as we seek to lift the burden of these thousands in the name and power of Jesus.
I can remember. As I think about when the world stopped turning on 9/11/01 and how scared, sad, angry, stunned, and grieved I was that day, I can remember that for many, they are living through multiple days like that, with new horrors around every corner. And as I remember, I can remember those that helped the good citizens of my own land and find new ways that I can help those who no longer have a land to call their own on this earth. What if this was us? It WAS us for a day. And the repercussions still last and will for generations. For those that this is now an every day…every hour…every minute battle for survival against the perils of evil, it’s time to stop looking past the stuff in front of us to see ourselves. It’s time to let God move our hands to help rescue, restore, and rebuild lives that have experienced told and untold devastation.
Vice President of World Help, Noel Yeatts says this, “ Today, we face a crisis of epic proportions. An estimated 28 million people in the Middle East are in need of humanitarian aid—and half of them are children. The resulting refugee crisis is the world’s worst since World War II. They come from diverse backgrounds and so many claim a faith very different from my own. But that makes them no less human and no less worthy of being rescued. My faith claims to care about the suffering, the sick, the wounded, the brokenhearted, the homeless, and the hopeless. My faith stands for justice. Our faith should compel us to take action. But if that is not enough, well, then our humanity alone should require it.”
How’s your mirror today? Are you noticing the heavy stone, dangling in front of your face, prompting you to remember and to act? Or are you looking past all the grime and seeing your most put-together self?
Friends, choose today to let God move your hand and your heart to let His image shine more clearly through your reflection.