Now, magnify that by a million... and we sit back and watch our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing unthinkable tragedy, pain and torment, starvation, humiliation, torture... we have all heard the stories coming to use via social media, blogs and news outlets. It's horrific, painful, unimaginable... I am struggling to even come up with the right words because frankly there just aren't any words to describe it. Who beheads children? How desperate do you need to be to throw your own beloved child off a mountain just to spare them any more pain? What is happening to them moves us, but to what? To action? What can we do? I have been mulling this over since the world started to hear more and more stories coming out of Iraq. What can I do? Between being half a world away and totally ignorant of the politics involved in helping these dear people I am at an utter loss. In fact, one would almost believe that it's hopeless... almost.
I am not going to sit here and pretend that I have ever faced such horrible suffering. I just haven't. My life is full of rich blessings and to pretend otherwise would be like slapping these people in the face. However, I will say this. God doesn't know 'hopeless', he didn't create chaos, and he certainly doesn't have boundaries. When we faced some of our tough times it was Him who brought the help, via friends, families and even strangers. Knowing that they were praying helped, it didn't fix anything, it didn't stop the hurting, but it gave hope where all seemed hopeless.
If God can't use me on the front lines in Iraq, if I can't personally go there and rescue every single innocent victim of ISIS then I need to pray for those that can be there, for the Kurds who are the only line of defense and security for these people right now. I need to pray for the men, women and children who are fighting just to live. I also need to seriously start praying for the men and women of ISIS... yes; I said that. I spent an hour praying for them the other day, for they too are God's creation and God loves them, grieves what they are doing but loves them. Loving our enemies is not always easy, and it doesn't mean that we love what they are doing, but I believe they need prayer, and a lot of it.
In this new phase of suffering in Iraq, we can feel the hopelessness and choose to look away from it because 'there's nothing I can do'. I have been very tempted, trust me. However that is a lie, I can plead to the maker of the heavens on behalf of Iraq, for all of her people, and I can hope for them.
Prayer is a powerful tool... but I also urge you to look into some organizations that could use your support. There are humanitarian efforts that are set up and doing their best to get aid to the victims.
Four charities already on the ground and working are:
Save the Children
International Rescue Committee
Action against hunger
Preemptive Love Coalition
I am sure there are more, if you know of any specifically please feel free to list them in the comments section.
There is a movement going forward this Sunday calling for the world to pray for Iraq. I ask you to join and pray with me, not just this Sunday but every day.