Focusing on the eternal

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During my early morning feeds with Phoebe I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. It hasn’t been full of happy news or pretty pictures. It’s been full of the tragedies happening in the Middle East. There are articles being shared of Christians being persecuted and beheaded in north Iraq. Pictures of families fleeing their homes to the safety of a mountain where there is no food or water. Chilling pictures of masked militants with guns aimed at ordinary men, bent over waiting to be executed.

I can’t imagine what the families are feeling as they make their way towards Turkey to find a safe refuge.

Their life and death situation is one that I can’t relate to. The kind of persecution I’ve received here in Australia about my faith is sticks and stones compared to the bullets and blades Christians in the Middle East are experiencing.

My heart fills with fear as I watch Phoebe peacefully nuzzle at my breast and wonder what the world will be like when she is my age. What kind of wars will she witness? How can I protect her?

I can’t.

But my God can.

It’s in these tragedies that I forget about my momentary troubles and pray for the petrifying circumstances in north Iraq.

I question God about His involvement. Where is He when His own are being slaughtered because of His name?

He is there. Not in the violence, but with those that are being persecuted.

I take comfort from these verses from the NIV Bible in Romans 8, from verse 35:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship, or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My prayer for the refugees in Iraq is that they would feel and know God’s love in this horrifying time. That they would feel peace and that the humanitarian efforts on the ground and in the air in those areas will be able to provide necessary food, water and supplies to meet their needs.

In circumstances like these, we can feel helpless, but prayer can break through the spiritual warfare that is reigning in the Middle East. This is a great article that explains 5 things you can do to help with the crisis in Iraq.

If you’re not the praying or God fearing type, maybe it’s time to really think about what you believe and whether your life aligns to your beliefs. There is more to life than work, paying a mortgage and building your own empire. Tragically people live life with this perspective in mind and have nothing eternal to show for their life’s effort.

Focusing on the eternal is how one overcomes persecution in terrible times.

What is your reaction to what is happening in Iraq?