• Beth Hildebrand

Look At These Faces| Day 23 God Only Knows

This week on one of these gorgeous fall days – sunny, 70 degrees – I walk to the mailbox to see what our mailman left us.  There’s of course the type of mail that isn’t even opened and torn up and put in the trash like another credit card offer.  It’s our son’s Sports Illustrated magazine, a JC Penny coupon and a monthly newsletter from Samaritan’s Purse.  Each November we fill a couple of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to send to children somewhere else in the world so they can open gifts on Christmas morning. Therefore,we’re put on their mailing list.

I must confess there are times when that newsletter ends up on the bottom of the “mail not read” pile on the dryer and doesn’t  get opened.  This week though, I opened it and the picture at the top of the letter captured my attention.


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I looked at many men, women and children crammed in a life support boat fleeing from their homes and country because ISIS was persecuting and threatening them with death if they didn’t convert to Islam.  Refugees.

It’s still so easy to get caught up in my daily routines and responsibilities.  It’s my comfortable and taken-for-granted “American dream” life.  When I looked at the faces of the refugees on that small boat, I’m broken.  I need to be broken.

Look at their faces. Close to the front of the boat are two women – one with a purple coat and the woman behind her gripping her shoulder wearing a pink hood.  They both have names.  The look on their faces is fear of the unknown.  Worry and fear.  The beautiful older woman right behind them  has no smile on her face.  Her expression is heaven-laden, one of sadness.  Maybe she’s thinking she wishes more than anything to be preparing her grandchldren’s favorite meal as she watches them play.  Close behind her to the right it appears to be a women in tears.  In the very back, standing higher than the rest of the others is a man whose hair is blown back from the wind as the ride for rescue.  He looks more determined, or anxious, with the task to get the rest of the people safely to land.  He’s looking ahead with all these thoughts running through his mind of what needs to be done when they land and how to find refuge.  There’s also a man in the middle of the boat just staring.  Maybe he’s overwhelmed and doesn’t even know what to think so he goes into the feeling of helplessness or depression.

The woman behind him is who captures my attention the most.

I’ll never see her face but I imagine her eyes are closed and she’s talking.  Her hands, with hot pink nail polish are reaching up in the middle of the group praying to God.  In the middle of the madness, fear, worry, and the unknown that lies ahead, she’s praising God.  I’m sure she’s feeling the same emotions the others on the boat are feeling, but she’s giving them all to the Lord.  Is she crying to Him for rescue, for deliverance, for God’s mighty hand to protect them?  Is she begging God for strength because they are weak, homeless, and scared.  Is she desperately pleading God for safety, security and peace because it’s hard to feel those things right now?  Is she praying for those who persecuted them?  Is she thanking God for the boat, for the few belongings she’s carrying on her back, for God’s goodness?

I’ll never know, but God knows and heard every word she said.

God, please forgive me from forgetting the lives being persecuted in the Middle East and Europe.  Forgive me for taking for granted the life I have.  Please forgive me for not praying for their salvation, safety, and security in You alone daily.  Humble me and break me so I’ll see them the way You see them. Forgive me for the times I’ve focused on my life more than others.  Forgive me for the times I’ve wasted my time, worries, and money. Forgive me for often forgetting them but thank you for every reminder you give meForgive me Lord.  Unsettle me. Open my eyes so I can see the way You see.

Be with the persecuted Church and may She still have hope in You, Almighty One.  May they still find joy in the midst of their pain, poverty and fear.  Please deliver them!

May Your Church rise and unite to defend our faith.  May we join together and be the hands and feet of Jesus as your handpicked servants. May we be the Body of Christ and use the resources, gifts and talents You’ve crated in us so we can give them to those who desperately need help.  May we be a Church who doesn’t hide in the walls of a building and fill our own souls and then not go out into the community or world sharing the love of Jesus.  May we be consumed with grace and love, not self and division.

You alone are our refuge, our place of safety; You are our God and we trust You.  For You will rescue us from every trap and protect us from deadly disease.  You will cover us with Your feathers.  You will shelter us with Your wings.  Your faithful promises are our armor and protection.  You will rescue those who love You and protect those who trust in Your Name.  When we call on You, You will answer; You will be with us in trouble.  You will rescue and honor us.  You will reward us with a long life and give us Your salvation. (Psalm 91:2-4;14-16)

Remind me often, Lord.  Remind me often.

A local way you can reach out and help refugees in the Middle East is to partner with Feed the Hunger ministry who provides opportunities for you to pack meals that are sent overseas to a ministry in the midst of those in need. Go here for more information of how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.


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