Dear Christians, let’s be honest with one another for a moment. We are scared. It’s not that attacks on humanity don’t happen every single day. We know that. But when countries like ours, and people like us, are attacked, we get shaken.
The idea that one moment you can be wrapped up in music and the next moment be face to face with a nightmare carrying a machine gun, rattles us to our core. The idea that we can be enjoying dinner at a popular restaurant in the crisp fall air one moment and then the next…not, makes us wonder, can this happen to me, too? Where I live? On the patio I love in the fall?
And like Peter did in the garden, when asked if “aren’t you one of his disciples?” We answer, “I am not.” Quickly. So, too, like him, in fear we forget temporarily, that yes, we are his disciples. For just a shameful second, in our fear, we breathe a sharp and relieved exhale when our governor says “NO MORE REFUGEES.” And for just a second, we forget our citizenship is not here, but in Heaven.
But this is not the way of the Master, my friend. The Master says, “let the children come to me.” And then he sat with the outcasts. Jesus is the God of second chances. The God of the weary and the oppressed and the hurting. He is the God who heals and the God who makes room at the table.
But sometimes, like the disciples, we ask God to focus just on us. We ask him, which one of us will be at his right hand in Heaven. We shush the vagrants and unkempt. We ask that the children be kept away. We forget that we were graciously added to the fold, as refugees ourselves. We forget…that good conquers evil. That HE conquers evil.
Father, forgive us. We are so afraid. Fill us with the boldness and courage we lack.
There will always be evil and we will always want to be afraid. But Jesus says,
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Was Corrie Ten Boon afraid when she made the hiding place? Desperately.
Were German mamas and daddies afraid when they started to see the atrocities of Nazi Germany unfold? I’m sure. I can’t imagine the magnitude of their fear.
Were first century Christians afraid as they saw their brothers and sisters executed in the arenas. Yes.
Were Rwandans afraid when the massacre killed their countrymen?
Were we afraid when the planes hit the twin towers?
Are the oppressed all over the world, afraid, today, right this minute?
But because we are Christ followers FIRST and Americans second, let’s not be the voice that ever says, “Because I am afraid, you are not welcome here.” Let’s be the hands that say, “welcome, bring the children to me.” Let’s be the hearts that trust that the evil will be vanquished by good. Let’s be the minds that know that fear does not empower us, but disarms us. Let’s make a place at our table for those who are hurting and running and need a home. Let’s be the courage the world needs to see right now.