This picture of a little Syrian boy is stirring outrage on the Internet today.
If you are like me, you probably had the opportunity to sit in a comfortable chair this morning to spend a few minutes reading your Bible while sipping coffee.
So when I opened my computer this morning, the above image came as a shock. As it circulates the Internet, several people have mentioned their dismay over the fact that it takes something gripping like this to get our attention in the West.
According to an article by NPR, the little boy in the picture above lives in Aleppo, Syria, and his name is Omran Daqneesh. The Aleppo Media Center released the following video yesterday. Their reason for releasing it may be an effort to bring attention to the growing problem in Syria of medical centers not having the resources they need to treat patients.
Omran was at home with his family in their apartment when their building was bombed. In the video, rescue workers frantically worked to free people inside the building before it collapsed. The boy and his family survived with relatively minor injuries, although some of their neighbors did not.
What is so telling about this picture is that it captures the boy’s textbook symptoms of shock. He is still, with a glazed expression on his face, and silent. Meanwhile, people rush outside the ambulance trying to free those still trapped.
I’m thankful for videos like these that show us what our brothers and sisters are suffering—whether they be fellow believers or not. I know it may sound cliche, but it reminds me to pray. When I watched the video, I noticed the God-given humanity that people click into when tragedy strikes. Shock can make you do unexplainable things, but it can also narrow your thinking down to the most basic human functions. The functions I see in this video are: “Someone is hurt. I need to help.”
When you see this video and look at the image, I hope you have the same reaction these rescue workers did. The truth is the vast majority of Syrians are hurt—pain which was brought about by decisions relatively few of them had a hand in making.
At the risk of practicing arm-chair faith, I’d like to share the verse I read during my quiet time this morning, and ask you to pray it over this situation:
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” Psalm 45:6
Lord, your word says your kingdom will be marked by justice. Please bring about justice in this situation, and don’t forget the people who are innocent.
As leaders, we have an obligation to bring important things to people’s attention. Don’t shy away from feelings of conviction that perhaps you and your congregation don’t know as much as you should about the Syrian war and the state of the refugees caught in the cross-fire. Please mobilize your congregation to pray for God’s justice to prevail in this region, and please remind them to keep praying until it happens.
Note: The following video contains images that may be disturbing to some viewers.