This morning, across the ocean, a woman has just watched her little toddler be beheaded, and her husband hanged with rope, and tonight waits to be stripped naked by two filthy, bloodstained hands of an ISIS militant, who will molest, rape, and kill her.
It’s true. “They are systematically beheading Christian children, raping, and killing the wives, and hanging the husbands,” CNN reports in this must-see video.
For the first time in my life, I cannot ignore it. I can turn the channel, or leave the room, but there is still this un-ignorable weight in my heart. When I speak about it to my friends or family, and hear words like “beheading, raping, and hanging” come out of my mouth, I become too choked up to finish. The Holy Spirit keeps testifying one thing: this is real.
But why do I feel so different about this crisis than all the others that flood across the news feed? Is a Christian life of more value than a Muslim, or Yazidi? No.
Then why do I grieve for them more?
Perhaps it is because…
They are my brothers, they are my sisters.
I am connected to these ones.
Born of the same Spirit.
Even though I do not know their names, the sound of their voices, the depths of their eyes…
They are my people.
Through and through.
“These are my people!” Queen Esther cried out. As in, “My own flesh and blood!” When her people (the Jews) were being persecuted, her grief moved to compassion, and compassion moved to high-risk action that would ultimately save them.
God has given us humans this violent thing in our hearts called, “compassion.” But there is reason we feel; it is to drive us to action. Something is not right (be it, Christian persecution, or human trafficking, or people starving while we live in excess)—and God is calling us to do something.
But as so many have said, “What can I do? They’re so far away.”
There are 6 things you can do today:
1. Follow What is Happening
You can’t care about something until you know about it. I am notorious for being out of the news loop. People are repeatedly shocked that I “didn’t know” about major news events. But while I am chanting, “Ignorance is bliss,” people are dying. I often don’t see the point in following the ever-depressing news–because if I’m honest, how does it affect me? (I’m usually consumed with “my kingdom,” when I am called to be consumed with God’s.) Secondly, (though I sometimes wish it), I wasn’t born in the “Little House on the Prairie” era, I was born into this one for a God-ordained reason. What if God has a greater agenda for me than the chore chart that’s hanging on my fridge?
2. Involve Your Kids
I’d like to flash my “mom card” like an excuse for jury duty when it comes to following events outside the playroom or kitchen. And yet, part of motherhood is introducing my daughter to our big world, and to an even bigger God who can save it. It’s okay if my daughter sees me weep over the things God weeps over. Perhaps one day, she will be more inclined to do so as well. In terms of the Iraq persecutions, my toddler and I have simply been praying for “babies” with “boo boos.” She understands that much.
3. Let Yourself Feel Something
Just like Jack Johnson expresses in his song, The News, “Why don’t the newscasters cry when they read about people who die?” It is easy to be numb to catastrophic events that are so far away. However, author Francis Chan gave such helpful insight in his book, “Forgotten God,” about how to let myself “feel” the weight of injustice right here in my living room:
When he first learned about the realities of children in the sex-slave trade industry, he stayed up in his hotel room and began to think: what if my own kids were captured by the sex-trade industry? He stayed up all night sobbing loudly for them. And the more he thought about it, the more passionate his resolve that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to rescue them. [And as a result gave all of the royalties from his book, Crazy Love, to the Isaiah 58 Fund.]
What if we started actually feeling persecution as if it were being done to our own sisters, our own brothers? Our own children?
For indeed, it is.
We sing about the God of “Angel Armies,” but do we really believe that? Many feel that prayer is “passive,” when it may be the most active thing we can do for our Christian brothers and sisters overseas. We have no idea that God may be releasing those angel armies at our cries. What is “passive” is talking about praying and never actually doing it (which is what I am guilty of.) But when you engage in fervent prayer, the Holy Spirit will testify in your spirit, what you are doing is intensely active and important.
Remember who you are praying to. Our God is stronger than any military, government, or power in the universe. When He acts, who can stop it? (Is. 43:13) All through Scripture God defeats nations (2 Chronicles 20), strikes armies with blindness, and surrounds his people with angles and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6), He parts seas (Heb. 11:29), provides food from heaven (Exodus 16), opens prison doors, and story after story, delivers His people. Can He not do it again?
You can donate money to Christian organizations in Iraq. A few legitimate ones are Open Doors and Christian Aid. I usually pass on these because I assume the money won’t get ever get there. But these are solid organizations, and these people need our help.
6. Raise Social Media Awareness
This is what I am doing right now. Many don’t know what’s going on, and will never read my words—but they will read your words. Because they know and trust you. If you have any type of social media account, you have the power to do this. What is God pressing on your heart to say about it? Share that.
You can also upload the picture below to your social media profile to show loyalty and stand with the persecuted Christians in Iraq. Click here to read more about the meaning of this symbol.
I heard yesterday that the only reason America is helping in Iraq, is because they are concerned about the oil and money in it. Maybe that’s true. Maybe not. I don’t know what America’s agenda is about.
But I do know what God’s is about.
And He will advance His kingdom.
He will unite His people.
He will build His church.
And the neither the Islamic State, nor the gates of hell will prevail against it.
Your prayers, or offering, or awareness-spreading may be the only answer to an Iraqi sister’s prayer tonight
….as she lays in the dark on a cold floor with a knot in her stomach, waiting to be raped, clutching onto her last dying hope: not to deny Jesus Christ as Lord.
For when it’s all over, when that ISIS militant is all finished ravaging her body, and deems her “worthless,” and ends her life, by bullet or sword
…she will at last open her eyes to eternity, and see another Man standing before her.
The One who formed her. Who first uttered her name into existence. And knit her together in the secret place. She will look down, and no longer be naked, but clothed, in white. And his warm hand will wipe away all the tears from her eyes and heal all her wounds and whisper, “Before I formed you, I knew you, and you are Mine. Come, I have prepared a place for you at Wedding Supper of the Lamb.”