A while ago a small family under intense persecution, had to flee from their homeland in the Middle East. They were recommended to find refuge in a neighboring, much wealthier nation, where they resettled for a season. Their host nation welcomed them, and their new neighbors helped them to settle in and make a living for themselves. During their stay, they rapidly won the favor of the community, and everyone was happy to have them there. Learning a new culture and a new language could be challenging, but with a good friends and a great attitude, it’s much easier to adapt.
The years passed by, and the political situation changed in their homeland, and that precious family was told it’s safe to go back. They gathered their few belongings, thanked their gracious neighbors, blessed their host nation, and off they went back to resettle in their country and rebuild their lives once again. Goes without saying, that all these changes, and relocations weren’t easy on any of them. But, they arrived to their old town, relaunched a small family business to make a living, and did their best to readapt to their old community. Sadly, their own weren’t as gracious and as kind to them, as their friends in the nation were they spent a season as refugees. Nevertheless, they lived a peaceful life, and did their best to overcome any stigma the society was putting on them.
Many years later, their first born decided to leave the family trade, and go into religious studies. Suddenly they found him in the streets speaking about God, love and forgiveness. Message that was received by some and rejected by others. This messenger ended up giving his life to fulfill his mission and calling, and when He rose from the dead conquering the power of the tomb, He granted mercy and forgiveness of sins to all who believes in him, including those who plotted to crucify him. It is in His name that every human being have a chance to stand before God forgiven from sins, by faith in the grace extended through Jesus Christ, the Lord!
Yes, Jesus was a refugee, of all places in Egypt. He was a blessing while he was there in the flesh as a baby, and he is a blessing there today as Lord of lords and Savior of the world. I am thankful that my ancestors, 2000 years ago welcomed the holy family and received in my country of birth. Although I know that God is sovereign, but I often wonder how the story would have developed if Egypt wouldn’t have welcomed the family of Jesus.
I understand that there is a big discussion today about the refugee crisis in our world. Many times we tend to get distracted with the headlines and we don’t think about the heart lines. In other words, what are we doing to help relief the refugees around us? It’s gonna take a lot to make global changes, but it takes a heart decision to make difference in one family’s life. Yes, that one family on the other side of your city, in that rundown apartment building, that dress differently, worship differently and even talk differently. It all starts with a heart decision to love them like Jesus loved us (when we didn’t deserve it). Serve them like Jesus served us (even when it’s inconvenient). And give them a second chance like Jesús gave us a second, third, forth and…. chances.
If you would like to respond to the refugee crisis, here are some things we do at home, and many of our friends are doing in other nations to serve refugees:
– We help them to do the simple practical things that we take for granted. Get a driver’s license, find a nice park for their children to visit, navigate local burocraccy, etc…
– Take them to the doctor. Even when they have health insurance, many times they are not well received by themselves. It’s always powerful to have a friend that stands with you.
– Invite them home for a family dinner, and prepare the meal ourselves. Go and have a meal at their home, and appreciate their hospitality, even within their financial limitations.
-Help them to practice the new language. Most places offer free language class for new comers. What they don’t offer is someone to practice the language with on a regular basis.
– Share with them the things that helped us improve our lives, including our faith and our devotion to God. If we truly believe that our relationship with God plays a major rol in our lives, how can we not share about it with those that we hope to see thrive and prosper as well?
May God help us to be salt and light in the darkest of circumstances.