Middle East: Imagine...

Hi folks: 

We take off in a little over 24 hours. 

For the remaining time, I would like to move our attention toward the people we are about to meet. 

Here’s a start: 

 Imagine you are safely nestled into your lovely 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath East Cobb home in your safe East Cobb subdivision (swim and tennis included).  You are lying in bed watching “Late Night,” when suddenly you hear the sound of gunfire. You leap out of bed and take cover on the floor, your whole body immediately covered in sweat. Then you crawl as fast as you can to your sleeping kids and drag them into your walk-in closet. There you wait—for what seems like an eternity, as you hear gunfire and explosions pierced by occasional blood curdling screams. 

Finally, all is silent, and you muster up the courage, against your family’s wishes, to make it to a window to see if the horror has ended. Just as you peer out the window, you immediately pull back, having caught a glimpse of a machine gun toting man attaching something to your front door. You crawl back to the closet and spend the rest of the night huddled in fear with your spouse and children. 

The next morning you hear the birds chirping, dogs barking, and even the chatter of the usual neighborhood walkers doing their morning exercise.  You are perplexed and gain the courage once again to peek out the window.  This time all is calm and oddly seems to be back to normal.  So you make your way downstairs, desperate to know what is now hanging from your front door. 

After agonizing over whether this is the right move, you quickly open the door, rip the white envelope off the front door, and slam it shut.  You take the envelope inside, huddle in a corner, and begin to open it, hands trembling as you imagine the worst. 

Then you read:

 “Attention residents of this home:  You are receiving this notice  because your neighbors have informed us that you are a Christian. You are hereby notified that you have 24 hours to either vacate your home or be prepared by 8 am tomorrow morning to publically confess your allegiance to our militia and renounce any allegiance to Jesus Christ.  Those who fail to either leave their homes or publically confess will suffer the consequences. 

 “To make it clear that we mean business, you have freedom anytime today to inspect the remains of your neighbors, the Smith family, who formerly lived on 10 Cardinal Lane. We are quite sure you wouldn’t want this to happen to yourself or your children.”    

You see no need to take them up on their offer. You heard every bit of what happened to your neighbors last night. Immediately, you throw down the letter, rush upstairs, and frantically begin packing everything you and your family can possibly fit into your four door sedan. 

Two hours later you and your family load up the vehicle and leave your home behind, never to see it again. 

This is something like what each of these refugees have gone through—horrors that we cannot comprehend.  And now they have made it across international borders to Lebanon, desperately hoping that someday they can return home or start a new life in Europe or the United States. 

May our hearts break for these people. 

May our hearts ache for our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters who are serving these people. 

May our hearts overflow with thanksgiving for the Savior who died to rescue these people. 

This is why we go. 

“Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”  Ps 2:12