Tuesday is my prayer night in our community in the Cleveland house. I work as a Patient Advocate/Health Care Coordinator at Migration and Refugee Services, and a couple weeks ago I decided to mention the refugee crisis and incorporate the struggles of these modern-day individuals and compare their plight to those found in various passages of the Bible.
The first verse I mentioned was Exodus 14:1-14. In this passage, God convinces Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Soon after Pharaoh sends them on their way, he changes his mind and sends waves of men on chariots to chase after the Israelites, which are swept away by the sea during their pursuit. This is many ways is very similar to what is going on in our world today. People are being driven out of their home countries or are forced to flee due to persecution and oppression. There are hundreds of thousands being killed and tortured for simply being different or for their beliefs. With such evil and hate surrounding so many, it seems impossible that there is any good in the world.
Most of the refugees I come in contact with acknowledge that even before they had the slightest hope of coming to the United States, it seemed highly unlikely that there was a plethora of “do-gooders” in the world willing to help them. Although they appreciate what we do, because of where they have come from and what they have endured, it seems utterly bizarre that there are so many (in the U.S. or other countries) willing to help people that they don’t know or who may be very different and seemingly unrelatable. Just as Moses reassures the Israelites, the compassion and care on behalf of those fighting for justice reassure the refugees that, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Those who have suffered greatly will eventually be rewarded greatly, they need only to have faith and patience.
The second passage reflected upon on was Psalm 34. Highlighting how those who fight for justice will be protected, praised, and uplifted by God, I used this verse as a continuation of the verse in Exodus. While those who are living in fear are “being still,” and putting their faith in God, God inspires millions to fight for the oppressed, the marginalized, and the downtrodden. My favorite line of Psalm 34 reads, “Learn to savor how good the Lord is; happy are those who take refuge in Him.“ This means that those who truly believe in the wonders of the Lord will be at home with Him and will be rewarded for their faith. I believe that anyone seeking change and fair treatment for the lowly are looked upon in favor by God, and He will always have a special place in His heart for the brave.
I closed my reflection with the verse Romans 8:28-39. Perhaps the most powerful of the three passages, this verse solidifies that no matter who, what, where we are, how we feel, or what we have done will ever keep us from being loved and guarded by the Lord. Putting this into context with today’s issues; fear of persecution, torture, death, despair, etc. cannot stand in the way of God leading us to salvation. We will always have someone looking down upon us and fighting for us, if we continue to fight for His kingdom here on earth, regardless of our gender, our color, our religion, our language, or even our political ideals. These three verses challenge us to be patient and to trust in the Lord, and if we do, we are promised eternal love, guidance, and protection, no matter what evil we have faced. I call upon everyone to think about your relationship with God, and ask yourself if you have done the things these verses ask of us. If not, I leave you with my favorite line, and perhaps a reminder of how blessed we are and a call to do the same for others, like the refugees, who have not been as fortunate. Romans 8:31 “What then shall we fear? If God is for us; who can be against us?”