"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18)
The news is not pleasant these days. With a heavy heart, I read about my brothers and sisters in the Middle East who are persecuted for their faith. I read about atrocities being committed by a group of people who hate anyone who does not conform to their beliefs. In particular it seems they hate Christians and Americans.
And so with each passing day, I read the news with a deep hurting in my spirit. Like many other dutiful Christians, I pray.
"Lord, be with your children who are serving you in evil places."
With news of the recent second beheaded journalist, I cried out, "what can I do? What can any of us do?"
The Lord answered me.
"You are where I put you. Serve where you are."
My husband and I discussed this at length.
In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells of the final judgment:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
"Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Most of us can't physically help in the Middle East, but we definitely CAN physically help the people here in our own community and contribute to international humanitarian aid. We can:
- support to local programs and ministries
- open our home to those in need of help
- give to ministries which have outreach and relief programs in the Middle East
And pray we certainly must. In Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, prayer is an appropriate weapon for the battle we are fighting, "for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
If you wish to make contributions to humanitarian aid in the Middle East, here are some for you to consider: