People will oppress each other— man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old, the nobody against the honored.
A man will seize one of his brothers in his father’s house, and say,
“You have a cloak, you be our leader; take charge of this heap of ruins!”
But in that day he will cry out, “I have no remedy.
I have no food or clothing in my house;
do not make me the leader of the people.” Is 3:5-7
I’ve been reading beautifully written novel about Syrian refugees. It really brings home to me what it would be like to lose everything we take for granted — our home, food, schooling.
It reminds me of this passage above. Isaiah prophesied about a tumultuous time when people would oppress and destroy one another. All would be laid waste, like rubble. If this isn’t a description of a Syria, I don’t know what is. I’m not saying this prophesy was about Syria, only that Syria gives us a good picture of what this passage is describing.
Here is a picture of Syria right now:
And here is a video with a view of what it is like to be a Syrian refugee.
Two of the Syrians who were interviewed in the video said, “We used to be comfortable and safe all day. Now we have to stay here with nothing to do.. . . There is no water, you have to buy it. Now you can’t get anything you need. It is difficult to buy bread because we don’t have enough money.”
Over six million Syrians have been displaced. It is estimated that 10,000 more Syrians become refugees each day. They struggle for even their basic needs, and families are reported to spend up to twenty percent of their income on clean water.
We can see the hopelessness. We can see the heartbreak.
It is as the verse in Isaiah 3 says, “I have no remedy.” Or a more literal translation is, “I will not be a healer. In my house there is neither bread nor cloak.”
I have been thinking a lot lately about people’s souls. For a long time, my dream has been for our church to grow, for it to be a place where people could come and find shelter from the world, could find wholehearted joy in God, and could worship in spirit and in truth.
But lately I haven’t been doing anything to help the church grow. I haven’t been reaching out to people and inviting them.
And as I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized that my goal needs to be more than growing the church. It needs much more be to reach out to people’s souls. I need to long for each soul to be saved.
You know, when Jesus saw the people of his day, his heart went out to them. He didn’t just condemn them for their poor decisions or their worldliness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
I so need to be more like Jesus! People are like refugees on the inside, bereft, wandering, needy. They need healing, and I have a remedy for those who would listen.
But it’s hard to be the worker who reaches out. I told myself this morning when I went to a kids’ consignment sale that I would open my mouth and share my faith. I talked to two people, but didn’t get any further. My motivation just wasn’t great enough.
And then I remembered that I have heard many, many people say that they were praying to know God better, or praying for a church, and within a few days someone shared with them. And I thought, the next person I meet could be one of those people! They could be the person God put in my path for a reason.
So when I went to pick up my groceries from Kroger ClickList this afternoon, I asked the young woman who loaded up my bags if she would like an invitation to church. She told me about her church, and how she has a daughter who is 14 who feels called to the ministry, and the daughter has already given a couple of messages to the children in the elementary school ministry. It was a heart warming story. I don’t know if me sharing with the woman made a difference in her life, but it enriched me!
Let’s reach out more.
Maybe we will find someone who is searching.
Maybe there’s a little refugee in all of us, and we can touch one another’s souls.