The UNHCR says that the number of forced displacement of people is at an all time high with in excess of 15.4 million refugees, almost 1 million asylum seekers, and 28.8 million internally displaced people. The upsurge in conflicts means that these figures are rising rapidly almost daily.
On the 27th June, 2014, the UN reported that at least 10,000 Iraqis, mostly Christian had fled from one city alone in that week. It is estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced by fighting so far this year. Syria, Sudan, and Libya are just some of the other countries that are seeing huge numbers of citizens fleeing to neighbouring countries, or seeing refuge in other parts of their own land.
Refugees face multiple issues, from the very practical ones of insecurity and safety to those of health provisions, economic needs, education, work, meaning in life, trauma related issues, uncertainty regarding their future, statelessness, abuses … the list could go on.
The problem is now so big that many of us can no longer face it. The mass of humanity forced to live with life changing levels of violence and trauma, insecurity and uncertainty, overwhelming physical need, lack of access to basic human rights for living challenges our commitment to care for the least. Many of them belong to those who seem opposed to the Christian message.
Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. As you look at a world map today, and then particularly of refugees in the Middle East region, pray that God might stay the hand of evil that is threatening to overwhelm these nations; pray for those who are deeply traumatised to be visited by God in dreams and visions, and through the hands of his people bring love and compassion; pray for generosity – for yourself and the church globally to respond; and pray for justice for refugees some of whom are now living for many years with no access to the basic needs for human dignity.