Many times our only frame of reference on what is happening in the Middle East is what we see on our nightly news programs. There is no denying what we see on these news programs, but there is so much more that God is doing that we do not see portrayed on these programs. So the question comes to bear is what is God doing in the midst of this great tragedy? Many times our initial response as to what should be done is out of frustration at the status quo, or gaged on our political ideology. So let me suggest a few things that we should think about in light of what is going on in Iraq:
1. God is at work in the midst of Tragic Events: Our field partners and missionaries that we have helped to send to this part of the world report an openness to the Gospel not previously seen. One our our Peruvian missionaries reported that they were able to give out over 4,000 copies of “the book” to refugee’s. This is a country were “our book” is not available in most places and in some places illegal to even have. But now God is opening up doors, that were previously closed. Yesterday I received the report that now over 600 of the Sunni refugee’s have recently come to faith in Christ! God is working in spite of these tragic events!
2. People Movements lead to God Movements: Even in the O.T. we see the same principal, that people movements, albeit are uncomfortable, but in the end, result in God being glorified.
Our “workers” are telling us of that they are seeing “unprecedented” opportunities to share. People that have lost everything, that have left their homes behind, want to make sense of what is happening. They look for “deeper” meaning in their tragedy, and thus are more open to consider things they might not have been willing to consider before.
3. Our response should be based on our faith and the Great Commission. So many times it is so easy to loose sight of what God is doing, and wants to do, and our response comes out of anger, vengeance and our sense of justice. But God wants us to respond as Christ Followers, that His Kingdom be what is paramount in our minds, thoughts, and our response.
What can we do in the midst of this situation?
1. Pray for God to be glorified in the midst of all that is happening. Pray that those that are displaced, and those facing incredible persecution would seek out the only one that can heal their souls, Jesus Christ. That His Name be lifted on high in this land. That is something that only He can do.
2. Do not be deterred by fear. Many times our missions theology is based upon our risk factor. I am not suggestion one purposely seek out danger or persecution. What I am suggesting is that we never let those be a factor in our obedience to the Gospel! We are commanded to take the Gospel to dangerous places, it’s that simple.
3. Identify with those being persecuted: Those being persecuted are being persecuted for one reason; openly sharing their faith and witnessing for Jesus Christ. Nick Ripken in his recent book “The Insanity of Obedience” stated: “When we too share our faith in Christ and openly witness for Him, then we identify with our brothers and sisters in chains. When we remain silent, then we identify with those who put them in chains.”
So although things on your T.V. screen may look bleak, know that God is working, and we are to continue to engage in this part of the world and share Jesus Christ with everyone possible.
Ralph Canada is the director of Connect Global Network, and the Latin American director for Global Focus. You may contact him and learn more about his innovative ministry raising up a new generation of missionaries for the unreached by sending him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org