Jesus Was A Refugee

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I am the first to admit that I don’t have an answer.

Except that in the face of terror, Church we must refuse to be terrified or terror itself has won.

Beloved, fear is a choice; and perfect, completed love in Jesus can drive fear away. I know a little about that first hand.

I have stared down the barrel of a loaded AK-47.  More than once.

I have faced off with rebel groups wielding fear as their greatest weapon.  A fear so dark it seemed to blacken even the edges of midday sunlight.

I’ve gone into rebel camps and violent brothels and had gangs holding broken bottles at my neck threatening my life.

I’ve had 18 rounds of cerebral malaria almost take me out with fevers on occasion topping 106ºF.

I lived in a war zone.

I’m not comparing any of that to terrorists invading your meeting with the goal of as much carnage as possible.  I knew what God was asking of me going into the situation I did in Africa.  Or at least I had some idea about it ahead of time.

But when you are staring down the barrel of a death sentence, whether it be a gun or a medical diagnosis, in Jesus there is always a choice. How much more so when we see brothers and sisters in Him and other persecuted people simply looking for a place to call home.

Yes, I have listened to the same news broadcasts as many of you. I’m glad I am not a policy maker in these days.  I’m don’t think anyone has all the right answers.

But Church I know this. The minute we make decisions motivated by any fear other than a holy fear of the Lord is the minute the enemy of our souls has won.

Pragmatically, even if every person from Syria or from an Islamic faith were to be legally refused entrance, there are 100 other ways for those intent on killing and destroying to see their goals met, be it through our porous borders or via internet propaganda.  Realistically, we are not going to be able to prevent every attack, but we can refuse to live in fear of them. 

We can become so filled with God’s unfailing love that we refuse to make decisions based on fear and choose instead to ask individually and corporately what Jesus is asking of us in the moment.  We have an unprecedented opportunity to open our hearts and homes to a hurting, fleeing world and just maybe to see God’s love do what all the government intervention and intelligence in the world cannot.

Are there some who come trained and intent on exploiting kindness and friendship? Undoubtedly.  But I answer to Jesus for the motives of my heart and my obedience to follow His.  We will miss far more of His Kingdom by reacting in fear than we ever will by walking with Him in faith and trusting Him to give us the discernment we need. And we need GREAT discernment.  But the discernment that comes from His love, not from our suspicion.

In a season where fear is making headlines and the latest sales compete for our focus, dare we remember Jesus was once a child refugee fleeing from a totalitarian regime who was out to slaughter a generation.  Dare we ask Jesus what is our part in loving like He loves and doing what He is doing. 

Jesus, let us see like You see and love like You love and let that guide us… at Christmas and always.