For the last few months, headlines about the Syrian refugee crisis have been dominating international news: Stories saying thousands of them arrive in Greece on a daily basis, and about the humanitarian workers who greet them there. Stories about the dangers refugees face in crossing the Mediterranean Sea in tiny boats ill-equipped for international voyages. Stories about the bodies of infants washing up on European shores when those tiny boats capsize.
Approximately nine million Syrians have fled their homes since 2011 as a result of President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime—600,000 of them this year alone. According to surveys of those now living in Europe, 70 percent say Assad is the reason they left. And only 52 percent of those said they would even consider returning while he’s still in power.
Add to that the number of people from other areas of the Middle East escaping from Islamic State terrorists, and it all adds up to what some in Congress are calling “the worst refugee crisis” to face the globe since World War II.
The nations to which these refugees are running are struggling to absorb them. In 2016, the U.S. is expected to become the new home for 85,000 refugees from around the world, and “at least” 10,000 of those will be from Syria, says Secretary of State John Kerry.
There are no simple solutions for these issues. Congressional Republicans warned Kerry and the Department of Homeland Security in late October that Islamic State terrorists will likely try to enter our country along with the refugees.
Meanwhile, Dutch politician Geert Wilders is warning other countries that Europe is in the last stages of Islamization, due to the fact that Muslim immigrants tend not to assimilate. As a result, several EU nations now have official Muslim state holidays and sharia courts, and are struggling with rising waves of anti-Semitism.
That strategy is familiar to those who’ve read the Koran: It’s basically the Islamic approach to foreign missions. This, Wilders said recently, “is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West.”
Those are the facts. But what is the Truth? How can we, as citizens of the Kingdom of God, interpret those facts from Heaven’s perspective and make a tangible difference not only for the refugees who may soon be living among us, but for our entire nation?
The simple answer is: We can pray. But let’s not do it with a defeated attitude of desperation! Let’s do it with boldness. Let’s do it with confidence in the fact that our God is a God Who saves. He pursues. He encounters people who don’t know Him in the most radical ways—particularly when they already have a culture of belief in the supernatural, as most Third World natives do. And He loves each of us relentlessly—regardless of our background, our beliefs or even our sin. After all, one of Christianity’s greatest heroes was once a religious terrorist. If God transformed Saul that radically, don’t you know He wants to do the same for members of ISIS?
So let’s ask God to give us His strategies. Pray for His justice to be done in the Middle East. Pray for His protection over our nation, that those who would seek to do us harm would be successfully prevented from crossing our borders. Pray that He would continue showing Himself as the one true God to Muslims through dreams and visions, as He has been. Let’s ask Him to show us our neighbors through His eyes, and how to love them with His heart.
The nations are coming to our doorstep. And the Lord can use this to bless the entire world—because we are still a city on a hill.
The Truth always trumps the facts. Thank God for that—literally.