When I first read a headline about the Syrian refugee crisis, it was a blip on the radar of my attention.
Then, I read more.
I discovered the shocking reality of the numbers of people impacted by ISIS’ actions in the middle East. Millions fleeing their homes just so they can stay alive, so they can keep their children alive. They take dangerous risks in the hopes of living another day. And my heart broke.
And I stopped to let myself really feel the impact of this tragedy.
But I’m so far away. What can one stay-at-home mom with no real influence do?
It’s too easy to stay walled off from the world’s pain. To barricade myself in my own quiet home. So easy to pour myself into my own family, and the friends who people my small world. It’s simple to justify that one person can’t change anything, so why bother trying? People will do what they’re going to do, right?
This rationale makes it easy to distance myself from the pain millions in this world endure. If I don’t feel their pain, I don’t need to act on it. I can keep my blinders on and go about life, immune to the heartbreak all around me.
If I say I want to be a woman after God’s own heart, I must to be willing to let the things that break His heart break mine.
God hasn’t put us here at this time in history to go about life on our terms. He’s put us here to reveal His love to a lost and dying world. If I don’t allow myself to feel the pain He feels, I’m doing Him and others a great dishonor.
As I’ve considered my calloused heart, I’ve been convicted, but not sure what I can do. That God. He gave me some action points through a recent message our pastor shared. What follows are some takeaways for sand-papering the callouses off our hearts:
- Allow ourselves to feel the burdens the people of our world carry—to feel the heartache and heartbreak of those around us, and those a world away. Distress surrounds us. We need to pray for eyes that see.
2. Remember that God moves through the prayers of the broken. When we come to Him with repentance and confession—when we have an accurate view of God—He will move. When we’re broken by what’s going on, we reflect His heart. We must believe God is listening, and He will answer the prayers of the broken. Especially when the situation is bigger than we are, we must pray.
3. When the Holy Spirit prompts us to act, we must move in faith. Sometimes, our calling is to pray. But there will be times to act. With the Syrian refugee crisis, we may be prompted to donate money to ministries (like wewelcomrefugees.com) assisting refugees. Maybe your calling is to take in a family and help them get a new start here in the United States. Is this easy? NO! But, if God is prompting you to act, then with His leading, step out in faith. He wants our lives to reflect His love to a lost and dying world.
4. If God is calling us to act, prepare. We need to ask for His guidance, and do what He shows us to do.
5. We need to practice patience. He may not act the moment we step out in obedience to what he shows us to do. We still need to keep moving forward. Also, There may be times to stay silent about what we’re doing because those around us may be discouragers rather than encouragers.
6. We need to participate. It’s easy to stand back from the heart of the pain, to keep our own hearts safe. God hasn’t called us to a safe life. He’s called us to an obedient life. A serving life. We need to make the decision to say, “God, I’m in.” And be all in.
If I want to have a heart like Jesus’, I must move beyond the “want-to” into the realm of experiencing the pain and asking God to use me in the midst of it.
Easy? Never. But we aren’t called to easy lives. We are called to holy lives.
What about you? How do you respond to the tragedies going on around you? When have you allowed yourself to feel others’ pain and what have you don about it?