Last week, I witnessed images of Syrian children convulsing on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and taking their last breaths. Tears streamed down my face, as I looked to my daughter sleeping peacefully beside me and back to the nauseating pictures on the television screen.
A father was holding his own dead children in his arms. Children whose eyes were open, but no life remained in their small, beautiful faces. This man lost his wife as well; a mother who should have had another day on earth to love her now murdered children. He wept on my television screen, and I could do no less than weep with him. I cried for his children, I cried for his wife, and I cried at the helplessness I felt.
Guilt washed over me. Up to this point, I was easily persuaded to turn a blind eye to the Syrian crisis overseas. It was not a civil war that concerned me. It did not impact my quality of life or that of my family. I made the choice to not educate myself on what was occurring. When I saw it on the news, I changed the channel. Out of sight, out of mind. I made an easy and convenient choice to not seek God’s will for me in this situation because it seemed there was nothing I could possibly do. God didn’t need, or could use, this overtired mom from Kentucky to do anything for those in Syria.
But then I saw that father with his heart shattered into a million pieces and scattered around the lifeless bodies of those he lost. The moment was broadcasted for the world to see, and I could no longer ignore what was happening.
He was a parent, just as I am. He had hopes for his marriage and children, just as I do. While I don’t know his personal religious beliefs, I do know God created this man and his family as He did mine. Their lives and purposes are just as valuable to God as my family’s. I thought this crisis was something I could not relate to, but this grieving father and I have more in common than Satan wanted me to see.
I had to do something for this man, what was left of his family, and others like him, but what?
As Christians living in a country where we cannot fathom what others are enduring on the other side of the globe, what does God want us to do and learn from situations such as what we are seeing in Syria?
I turned to the Bible for answers, and I want to share my findings with you.
1. Identify the Enemy
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”-John 10:10
Let’s be clear, God did not cause this destruction and death we are seeing. Men, lead by the evil schemes of Satan are the cause. We must understand who the enemy is, so we know who we are up against. Thank the Lord, God sent Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and His Word to better equip us to battle Satan on earth. Though God does not cause wars and destruction, He will use these horrible tragedies in a way women like me will wake up to the Biblical truths He wants us to see and share with others. These horrific scenes we see played out on our nightly news programs and social media are proof Satan exists (1 Peter 5:8-9). We are in a battle with the Enemy, and though we know in the end God will be victorious, we must do what we can to defend ourselves and one another from the Devil’s attacks (Ephesians 6:11-16). How do we do this? Prayer is a good place to start.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” -Ephesians 6:18
Don’t let this timeless act of communicating with the Father not be a consistent part of your life. Let’s not shrug off prayer, as I was shrugging off the Syrian crisis. Prayer is powerful and effective. The Bible tells us to pray on ALL occasions and for ALL His people. Satan knows how powerful prayer is, that’s why he does all he can to distract and prevent us from praying. We need to be praying for the people of Syria, the world leaders who impact this crisis, and the humanitarian organizations trying to supply the Syrian people with life-saving necessities.
A prayer specifically for the Syrian crisis can be found at the end of this post.
3. Remember Our Days Are Numbered
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12
God is wanting us to understand our days are numbered, as we look at the conflict in Syria and all over the world. Though it’s unlikely me or anyone in my family will die at the hands of chemical warfare, we can die at the hands of cancer or an automobile accident. We must understand this life we live is but a fleeting moment, no matter our circumstances (James 4:14). Once we better understand how short our earthly lives are, we then gain a heart of wisdom as we humble ourselves to the truth that death is inevitable. It took a saddening newscast to open my eyes to how God is using events around me to teach me to number my days, appreciate the life I lead, and wisdom to see how He can use me in situations like the Syrian crisis. He wants to do the same with you.
“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.” -Deuteronomy 16:17
What can you give to help those in Syria?
Your talents to raise funds and awareness for the crisis?
Your wisdom in talking to and educating others on what is happening?
Your prayers for all those involved and affected?
Your social media shares on posts like this to reach and impact others?
We need to give as we are able and with what the Lord has blessed us with. It is what He has commanded us to do, what Jesus modeled, and an active way to help the Syrian crisis. No matter how big or small your giving might feel, your actions are impactful, and God sees your efforts. He will use them for good.
CLICK HERE for a list of organizations accepting monetary donations used in helping the Syrian people.
It is my hope these findings will give you clarity and direction on nights when you find yourself weeping with the parent on the other side of the television screen. When we feel helpless and lack understanding at the tragedies of the world, let’s open our Bible and ask God for guidance. He will use us in some way, for His glory, if we will only ask!
A Prayer for the Syrian Crisis:
Lord, thank you for sending the One who gives us life and gives it to us abundantly (John 10:10). An abundant life that even when ended on earth, will continue with You in heaven. The hope offered in that truth is the hope I pray the people of Syria will cling to. If anyone in that country does not know You, Lord I pray they come to know You so they can experience the abundant life you offer.
May Your peace and hope comfort those who need it. Protect the innocent, Lord, and change the hearts of the wicked as we pray for those who have been overcome by Satan and his evil ways (Matthew 5:44).
Allow the Holy Spirit to lead the leaders involved in this crisis, (1 Timothy 2:1-2) as they seek Your wisdom in making decisions.
I ask for the Holy Spirit to guide me as well. Use me, Lord, to do Your work in this crisis and give what I can (Deuteronomy 16:17). No matter how small or big the assignment, it is important to You I make a contribution to the battle of defeating Satan. May I remember and be grateful for this life You have given me, and gain wisdom in my humbleness (Psalm 90:12).
For a thorough and easy to understand summarization of the Syrian crisis read THIS.