The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:7-10 (NIV)
O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Psalm 61:1-4
We have established that God has a two-fold mission of compassion for the world. Missions is all about joining God in his two-fold mission of compassion for the world by bringing the Gospel message of redemption to the world and caring deeply about the significant pain and suffering that exists in our world and taking helpful steps toward alleviating it. In regard to the significant pain and suffering that exists in the world we are going to zero in on one type of pain and suffering. We want to look at the pain and suffering involved in being a refugee.
Typically, refugees are people who initially have no option but to flee from their homes and communities in search of refuge (few options) from powerful natural or human forces that come up against them. There are many examples in our world today of multitudes and multitudes of people who became refugees (often they have lost everything) because of natural or human forces. God cares very deeply about refugees and so should we. Our passage today not only shows us the love and compassion God has for refugees but it describes the amazing spiritual refuge he can be to those who have actually been forced to flee from their homes and communities. But what about the provision of actual physical refuge for refugees?
Yes, God uses his people to bring the Gospel message of redemption to all people and for those who respond, he becomes to them a place of spiritual refuge. Yes, God uses his people to bring the Gospel message of redemption to refugees and for those who respond, he becomes to them a place of spiritual refuge. However, it is important to note that only God provides actual spiritual refuge for people. When it comes to actual physical refuge, God does not provide it directly apart from human intervention.
We are faced with the issue of letting refugees into our country at this very moment and the issue is ripe with powerful political dynamics. It is a complicated issue and we will not try to solve it here. But there is a question we must ask ourselves, "Do we have the same love and compassion for refugees that God does?" Forget the question of entrance into our country or state being granted to refugees for the moment and explore this: if a refugee was at your door would you open your heart, wallet, and home to them? What would Jesus do? Would you even give them a cup of cold water in his name? Ponder this: if powerful natural or human forces came up against you and you had no option but to flee your home and community, what kind of openness of heart, wallet, and home would you like to see from those you flee to for refuge?
Lord, give me the resolve I need to be one whose Christian walk matches my Christian talk. Fill me with the love and compassion for refugees that I would want others to have for me if I were a refugee. Deal with me fully in regard to the issue of "openness" to being involved directly or partnering with others who provide refuge for refugees. Amen!
Posted on Wed, November 18, 2015
by Alan Porter