As a writer of Amish Romance, I try to stay out of the political arena. I don't want to change anyone's political views or ruffle any feathers, but I've been praying on a topic for quite some time, and feel called to share. In fact, I've decided to write a story about one of the Amish residents of Lawrence County who is having some trouble staying out of the world of politics. I expect it will be done in a few weeks to a month. Sorry, I don't have a title yet. It's still in outline form. Sign up for updates and I will email you when it is published.
On to my dilemma about the Syrian refugees...
I’ve tried really hard to keep my mouth shut about the flood of Syrian refugees coming into the USA, but as much as I write about Amish, I am not Amish. I am Christian, Lutheran to be exact, and I find I can’t quite manage that separateness from the world that my Amish friends manage to do. Is it because my faith is not strong enough? Is it because I feel in some part God helps those who help themselves? I don’t know, but I do know, my Christian self (and even my humanitarian self) seem to be at war with my practical self, and yes, there is a certain amount of fear. I think it is justified.
I am concerned about the plight of the refugees. I want to take care of their humanitarian needs because that is the Christian thing to do. I want to bring Christ to them. Of course, I want to help in any way possible, but I just don’t understand their fleeing their country. Why are they here? Wouldn’t they rather stay at home and fix their own country? I would, but maybe that is just me. Maybe I’m naïve, but even the threat of death would not move me. But since many refugees are coming here….I’ve seen nine young men consistently at our local Starbucks lately. No women. No children. Men in their twenties. They do not appear to know English. I wonder what the Lord expects me to do. What is my part?
Even as I donate monetarily, I wonder, am I doing enough—we are not saved by works but by the blood of Jesus—so why am I worrying about MY works? Still, if I were living under an oppressive regime wouldn’t I hope that someone somewhere would open their homes and hearts to me?
As you see I’ve been wrestling with this problem for quite some time. There are probably innocents and hidden threats among the refugees. But there are also certainly poor children already in the USA who need our help. There are godless neighborhoods that need our prayers and mostly our Savior, so why again are we bringing in refugees who not only want to KILL us, but also want to proselytize among the youth? Is this a threat any Christian has considered? Radical Islam’s attempt to proselytize? What about the faith of our children? Is it strong enough to withstand this deluge of Islam?
Far more dangerous than death in my eyes are the facts that our children could be swayed from Christianity to the zealous faith of Islam. We have seen it happen. Are we as Christians, too meek? My Amish friends certainly say no, but we mainstream Christians have allowed God to be removed from our schools, our towns, and in many cases our lives. Too many youth look to gangs and crime for belonging instead of looking to our own strong examples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Should we be more vocal warriors for Christ? Should we be stronger examples? Is this threat to our faith, God calling us to be stronger? This is something I must think on—pray about--I don’t know.
Finally, I look at these young men coming claiming to be refugees, and ask, for a religion that allows plural marriage, where are the women and children? All does not seem right here. I have a gut feeling that we are being lied to. But is that any reason to stop the flood or poor oppressed people? Surely there are some oppressed people among the refugees, even if there are also terrorists. Our nation is built on oppressed people seeking sanctuary, so how can we turn them away? More importantly, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). Must we take that risk? I certainly don’t have an answer.
So I ask myself, what if some group in the USA decided to be radical and kill all Christians? Hey, it may happen in the not so far future at the rate we are going. Would I just die a martyr? Would I even be so strong in my faith? I hope so. I pray so. If I decided to leave the USA for somewhere else, wouldn’t I want there to be a country open to me?
After much prayer, and soul searching, I said, no. I wouldn’t leave. I would stay right here. I would stay because this is my home. I would stay because I should fix the place where I lay my head for my children and their children. I would stay because America preaches tolerance of all religions. I would stay, perhaps because as my Amish friends say, I am too proud, but nonetheless I would stay…
My children are grown, so I may have a different thought if they were young, but I think everyone has a love of the place they call home. Everyone wants that place to be safe. I will continue to pray, and I will continue to offer aid as I can to the people in their own countries. When my Christian friends say to me, ‘How can you turn away these innocents?” I can answer with a clear conscience. I can say, first, USA is a land of tolerance. If they are not tolerant, I feel no need to let them into our country to kill us or corrupt our youth. Furthermore, I feel the best help to them is to help them in their own lands, and finally and most importantly, pray. Pray without ceasing. The Lord said, “My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (John 16:23). We are asking Lord, because I think many Christians, like myself are unsure how to answer this challenge.
Truly, I think the BEST thing we can do is pray. Put this terrible situation in God’s hands. My more secular friends throw up their hands and scowl at me as if prayer is NOTHING. We, as Christians, know that prayer is no small help. It is a BIG help in the form of our God. Please join me in prayer for our leaders and for the situation in the Middle East.
I do not want to make you change your mind, or challenge political ideas, or minimize the current threat. I just feel that thinking people must consider that these people may only be looking for a place to live peacefully, like our own forefathers. If they move in beside me—a real possibility in Pennsylvania—then I will treat them with tolerance as a US citizen. As a Christian, I will share Christ’s word. All the while, my heart goes out to the obvious innocent lambs among these wolves. There is no good answer in man’s mind, only the mind of God knows the plan. Come Lord Jesus.
Please share your thoughts and prayers.
603 Anderson Road, Enon Valley, PA 16120