They often flee in the middle of the night, taking only what they can carry. They flee because their ethnicity, religion, or politics make it unsafe to remain in the place that has been home. They are refugees. People without a home, without a country.
The decision to leave their homeland is not a easy decision, nor something that most of them sought voluntarily. Most of these displaced have left behind almost everything of value: family, friends, homes, possessions, occupations, livelihoods, and the security of what they have always known. It is no easy thing to be torn from your roots.
The flight usually brings more trauma. Many do not survive the journey. If they survive, they often are not welcomed in the place where they seek refuge. Life in a refugee camp can be difficult, unstable, and a daily battle to survive. The vulnerability of depending on total strangers for basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter can be humiliating and defeating.
These are people with names, dreams, and hopes. These are people like you and me. These are people loved by God.
“Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily.” (Hebrews 13:1-3)
What can we do as followers of Jesus Christ for the displaced?
- We can see their plight. Biblical compassion is to be moved deep in our gut by what we see.
- We can reach a hand. Sponsor a refugee family as a church. Help a displaced person in your community with furniture or transportation to a job interview. Volunteer to teach them English as a second language. Be a good neighbor. Reach a hand of friendship. Opportunities exist right now in the Louisville metro area to assist Cuban refugees.
- We can give. The Southern Baptist Global Hunger Fund provides needed supplies to those displaced and homeless. Learn more about how your gifts can make a difference at Baptist Global Response.
- We can pray for those driven from their homes. Pray for God to intervene on their behalf. Pray for peace. Pray that evil and darkness will be pushed back. Pray that God will use the chaos of displacement to open doors for the Gospel.
- We can share the hope that is within us. Rather than being fearful of refugees, the church should seek to share the hope of Christ with these battered and broken by life.
“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him,
for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21)
May we never forget that we, too, were once lost,
but through the grace of Christ have been found!