People are dying, children are starving, thousands don't have water, thousands more are homeless. We are in the middle of a humanitarian aide crisis that is nearly unfathomable.
As I follow the news out of Iraq and Syria I can't help but think about the people I know personally who live in those lands. I can't help but think about the arid yet achingly beautiful desert landscape I traveled with strangers who became friends. I can't help but remember taking an afternoon to travel with my English students to an oasis where the men clambered into the river like a bunch of teenagers and the women eagerly served amazing traditional food.
When I lived in Kurdistan, I was just out of college and I probably wouldn't have been aware of trouble if it had crept up behind me and shouted "HERE I AM!" I didn't have to worry, though. My students, men and women college age and up, had my back. In fact, they had all of our backs. They wanted our team there. They appreciated the fact that we had come to teach them English. They wanted to know what we believed and eagerly listened when we offered them Hope. That is what I did in Kurdistan. I taught English and offered Hope. I will long remember that trip as a time of learning to live and give the hope and love of Jesus Christ.
Now people I knew, people I taught, people who literally ran interference to make sure we stayed safe... those people are running for their lives. With nothing. They are fleeing to refugee camps and countries that are as foreign to them as an In-N-Out burger. These people need our prayer. They need the practical hands-and-feet love of Jesus which will meet them in their time of need and cause them to be warm and filled. They need the eternal hope of the gospel. They need us - that's right - us, individuals like you and me. Just as we are needed to be a daily light that shines the gospel to everyone around us, so we are needed to pray for those suffering in this world. We are needed to partner with and uphold them. We are needed to encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who face persecution.
If this blog does nothing else today, please let it encourage you to pray. Pray for the displaced thousands fleeing persecution in Iraq. Pray for those who have no lasting Hope and ask that they would be introduced to our loving Savior. Pray for the aide workers and missionaries who are in hostile lands seeking to live out the great commission amidst circumstances I can only imagine. It is neither my plight nor my calling today to face down persecution and declare my love for Jesus at the point of a gun. But it is for the people in ISIS controlled territories. So please fellow Christian, be upon your knees and pray for these... these persecuted, these hopeless, these homeless, these fellow brothers and sisters who need courage and faith and boldness to stand firm in their love for Christ. Please... pray for these.