Five years of fear. Five years of pain. Syria.
In March, the world watched the war in Syria drag past the five-year mark. It’s become a constant hum of despair in our social feeds. A regular report in our nightly news. Yet little seems to change.
In many ways, it is a consistent reminder of the darkness in this world and our apparent inability to fix it.
But that’s simply not the case. As Christians, we must engage in this event as a unique opportunity to show undeniable love and compassion to those in need. And we are.
The war in Syria has produced a global ripple effect that has impacted the lives of millions of people, and become a topic or conversation in places thousands of miles away. The impact of the war has scaled beyond normal geographical ranges, demographics and languages. Food for the Hungry is active in serving those impacted by this crisis. Here, there and everywhere.
The Impact in the Middle East
In a war that has killed over a quarter of a million Syrians, and forced over 10 million people to flee their homes, it is clear that the region may never be the same. But for the millions of refugees who maintain hope that they may return to their homes, Food for the Hungry is committed to serving their needs by supporting education efforts in refugee camps, helping ensure nutritious meals are provided and facilitating psychological counseling for families recovering from trauma. We feel God has called us to stand alongside these refugees in their home region, and hope you will feel called to do so with us.
The Impact in Europe
While we seek to serve the vulnerable refugee in their home region, millions have decided that it is better for them and their families to seek a new life elsewhere. Each day thousands of migrants are fleeing Syria, choosing a perilous journey on foot or by boat, into Europe where they seek asylum and a new future. We cannot fault their desperation. And their choice to uproot their lives because the dangers and challenging odds of starting a new life in a different country are better than remaining in their homeland where they cannot see a hopeful future is understandable. Their journey is made more unforgiving with the recent Islamic extremist attacks of Paris, Ankara and Brussels. Compounding an already tense situation with additional pangs of fear and xenophobia. Food for the Hungry supports the efforts of our European partners in the region as they seek to serve those caught between the despair they wish to leave behind and the hope in a future where they and their children can thrive.
The Impact in the U.S.
The Syrian war is happening on the other side of the planet. But we are confronted with a need to respond in our own lives. Unfortunately, this topic gets characterized as a hot-button political issue. It’s not. I believe it is a human issue. And for those of us that call ourselves Christian, it’s an obedience issue.
The United States is a people derived from various waves of “dangerous” and “subversive” immigrants. Our famed Statue of Liberty reads,
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
If there was ever a modern-day group of “huddled masses… tempest-tossed,” the refugee families of Syria are they. How shall we respond?
Jesus did not mince words in declaring,
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction (James 1:27).
As followers of Jesus, there is little room to escape the mandate we have to serve these vulnerable children of God, and in so doing we give glory to Him.
The war in Syria has left an indelible mark on this decade. It is a painful and scary reminder that there is sin and darkness in the world. But it is through times like this where we have the opportunity to change the narrative. To be steadfast beacons of hope and light in Jesus’ name. While the conflict has impacted the lives of millions of people, directly and indirectly…
in the Middle East,
and in North America…
We must not concede to the notion that the world is evil and unable to be impacted for good. Food for the Hungry exists to cast light and hope on those who are desperately in need. I’m proud to be part of an organization that seeks to rewrite this narrative so that when the war is over, millions of refugees will have experienced the love of Christ Jesus in their hour of need. I hope you will join us.