I See You, I Hear You

Reblogged from David C., a Spring 2016 MESPer from Bethel University, MN. 

I see your pain. I hear your cries.
With tears in your eyes you tell us you were forced to flee Mosul and everything you have ever known. You share with us about how your child is attending a university in America, like any parent I see the joy on your face as you talk about her. Your voice starts to trail off and your head sinks a little bit. Next, you tell us it has been three years since the last time you have seen her. You yearn to see her, but policies prevent you from seeing her.

I see your pain. I hear your cries.
A middle aged man shares how he was a electrician in Iraq. A middle class family with children who attended school, played sports, participated in extracurricular activities, and hung out with friends. As we are hearing this I am struck by how similar our lives really are and start to think about such a simple one worded question: Why? Why had I been given the privilege of being born in a stable country? Why have I not had to experience loss, pain, and hardship like the man who sits two feet away from me?

I see your pain. I hear your cries.
We in America seem to have this preconceived notion that these people are nothing like us, that their ways of life would never coexist with ours. However, hearing these stories I am struck with how similar they actually are. These people onced lived in places not much different from Lino Lakes, Arden Hills, Shoreview, and Roseville. I think about their children. To know that these children have seen more violence and bloodshed in their decade and a half on this earth than most people ever will see in their entire lives in America has power.

I see your pain. I hear your cries.
At the end of our conversation, I am reminded of one thing. The two people I have just heard have a faith in Jesus that is so strong. Attempting to comprehend how they continue to keep persevering through life is so difficult, yet so encouraging and inspiring. We Christians from America can learn so much from Christians here in Middle East. Thinking about what divides followers of Jesus back home, then coming here and seeing faith lived out so passionately and strongly is so powerful and will change you. People who have the freedom to gather collectively each week as well as build and attend entire institutions dedicated to equipping students with a Biblical worldview must be concerned with has occurs in the world each and every day.

I see your pain. I hear your cries.
Regardless of people’s view on government, politics, and policies I believe one thing is made clear: The Christians of the world, especially Christians of America, cannot idly sit back and do nothing. I am not sure what exactly that means. Could it mean allowing people into our country? Possibly. While there are valid security concerns that must be addressed, knowing millions of people who are just like us have lost everything and yet still have the will to continue cannot be taken lightly. The country of Jordan has no long term plan, yet is prepared to keep accepting people no matter the cost. While what works for one particular country may not work for another, America should be seeking ways to learn from countries around the world that are accepting people.

These are complex questions and issues that do not have simple answers. On April 20th, in sha’allh (God willing), I will return to my comfortable home with my family and friends. I will have the privilege of being able to attend a university to fulfill my goals and dreams. I will continue to be haunted by the fact that millions among millions of humans just like you and me are a people with no country, and no home; to know these are real people just like us, not just numbers or statistics will also contuine to haunt me. As I struggle with these questions, I am conforted by the words of Paul as he writes in Romans, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words (8:26).

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