“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. ….. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:6-13
I was very disquieted when I heard the news of Turkey bombing the Kurds in Northern Syria. Fourteen million Kurds live in four countries: Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. The Kurds living in Northern Syria are around 3M. When the barbaric Turkish attack occurred, more than 700,000 Kurds were displaced, of which 40,000- 100,000 are Christians.
“People were so scared, they were telling me, ‘They are bombing us right now!'” Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, told NPR. “We think this is a message to the Kurds and Christians there to leave so that Turkey can move refugees there. We think it’s a form of ethnic cleansing.”
“The Turkish invasion is expected to be very harsh, not only on the traditional Christian community,” Ishak told the Catholic newspaper, “but also on the Kurds who have converted in recent years to Christianity and were allowed to openly practice their faith by the self-administration.”
When we hear those alarming news headlines, we feel anxious. We worry about our safety and the safety of our loved ones. Our hearts become haunted by the fear that this could befall us too. The shakiness and unpredictability of life plague us.
However, let’s pause for a minute and view those events from God’s perspective. True, there is evil all around us, yet, God is never caught by surprise. He told us beforehand about all these events, so they should come as no surprise to us. We watch Jesus Himself displaced as a child from His homeland to flee Herod’s persecution. Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to avoid Herod’s atrocities and fled to Egypt, living there for three years until Herod died.
Can you imagine what Jesus, Mary, and Joseph felt as they were leaving Bethlehem? I am sure they felt rejected, scared, and abandoned. Leaving for a foreign land from which their ancestors had fled after being slaves for 400 years, they had no clue what was waiting for them in Egypt. How will people welcome them: or will they?
Did they wonder on their way out of Bethlehem why God allowed all those babies to be slaughtered? Babies who had done nothing wrong except to be born during the reign of Herod? Did they wonder why God did not stop Herod from committing this genocide? God knew the events so very long before they ever occurred. Jeremiah, who lived more than 500 years before Jesus was born prophecies, A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted because they are no more.” Jer 31.15
Fleeing with an infant is no easy task, yet they had with them a priceless gem of a baby, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph arrived in Egypt, broken and destitute.
The Lord blessed Egypt because it received the Prince of Peace. The Savior of the world learned how to walk in Egypt. His Holy feet tread the land of Egypt. This is why the Bible says, “Blessed be Egypt, my people.” Isaiah 19.25
Only God can change such ominous events into glorious ones.
Let us look at events confidently. Let us provide for the physical needs of those displaced without losing focus that their real need is for Salvation and an intimate knowledge of Jesus.