Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians are being persecuted by ISIS. There have been abductions of more than 100 Assyrian Christians. Men, women and children have been raped, killed, sold, treated brutally and subjected to other horrors. Those who have escaped are living in limbo, such as the 57,000 Iraqis in Jordan who have received aid, but are not allowed to work.
The Christian Post writes, “As the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever known continues to unfold, more than 4 million Iraqi and Syrian refugees attempt to escape the clutches of the self proclaimed Islamic State.”
Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil shared, “that over 100,000 Christians and other minorities have sought refuge in Erbil over the past year, fleeing the Islamic State terror group.”
These amazing Christians have relentlessly sought God and held on to their faith. Warda shared, “People come and tell their stories of persecution and how they were really terrified, having to walk eight to 10 hours during the night,” the Iraqi archbishop continued. “In the end, they would tell you, ‘Thank God we are alive. Nushkur Allah. We thank God for everything.’ That’s the phrase they end with. That’s strengthening, in a way.”
Our brothers and sisters are forced with a choice every day to stand for His name and risk death. There are organizations that are making a difference, but it’s not enough. We must join with them.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil… Not to speak is to speak. Not to act, is to act.”
What do we do about this crisis? Certainly we can do something for someone. Children are raped, women sold, babies and men slaughtered. People are hungry. People are hungry for food, clean water, health, medicine, freedom, a home, and a whole family – the loved ones they’ve buried and the living ones they cling to. We can’t pretend to know what they’re going through. To say we understand, for most of us, would be a mockery.
We can pray, yes. And we should pray. We should pray until we wear down the carpet from kneeling so long and hard. But what more can we do? We, who have been blessed with resources of time, money, freedom, safety, and health – what can we give?
Only God knows the answer to this heart wrenching crisis. But I know he loves to use imperfect people – his children to be love in a dark place. How can we be love? How can your church be love?
As tensions rise, can our prayers rise higher?
As lives are taken, can we pray more life into existence?
As children are being killed, can we pray for their childlike faith to be ours?
Can we pray for the brokenhearted to be made whole?
The cross always wins, like Ann Voskamp shared. It’s time to link arms and pray, give, strategize, intercede, resource and love … for such a time as this.
Here are a few things we can do.
- Learn – let’s learn all we can about this crisis. Let’s read and talk and discern together.
- Can There Be Peace in the Middle East – QIdeas
- Can We Do Anything About the Refuge Crisis in the Middle East? – QIdeas
- The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Six Think I Believe – Lynne Hybels
- Journey Through Israel to Iraq: How There Can Be Hope in Our Hidden Hells – Ann Voskamp
- What ISIS Really Wants – The Atlantic
- Inside the Rise of ISIS – PBS
- Give – Give what you have to give whether it’s money, prayer, time, material items, and support organizations that are already working on the ground. The Christian Post encourages readers to write to their representatives and to partner with churches.
Here are a few organizations helping the persecuted:
- Pray – Pray for hope, renewal, safety, freedom and life for every man, woman and child. Be specific and informed as you pray. And be brave for our brothers and sisters. Release International gives a prayer guide to pray for persecuted Christians.
- Pray for protection
- Pray for aid and long-term partners
- Pray for the refugees and persecuted Christians
- Pray for an end of violence and bloodshed
“Brothers, pray for us.”
1 Thessalonians 5:25
Do you know of organizations to partner with, resources for learning more and how to pray? I’d love to learn about them.