The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. (Psalms 146:9)
These photos in the video above were all taken over couple days that I spent in the city of Diyarbakır, Turkey about two and a half years back. here is something I wrote about that week on another post here called Your Love Extended:
Just over a year ago I stood on a street corner for hours and watched a panicked exodus. The fight between the terrorists (or more accurately, freedom fighters) and the police (or more accurately, terrorists) had intensified early on the morning of my first day there. It went from sporadic gunfire into a running battle. The police (terrorists) enlarged their “curfew” (read “banned”) zone and five to six thousand people were forcibly evacuated from their homes over the course of the next two days. I watched as people were carrying appliances, rugs, clothes, and other basic living items on their backs and then dumping them into piles on or near this major intersection. From there they would be part of a queue loading up as a steady caravan of empty trucks arrived, loaded up, and then left for other parts of the city. There are no words to express how heartbreaking this scene was. The number of displaced refugees within the city of Diyarbakir jumped to over twenty-five thousand by the time I was leaving on Friday.
There was a silver lining that I did discover walking other parts of the city late Thursday afternoon. On a whim I left the main street I was walking and instead walked up a parallel narrow alley just two blocks over. About every five to six blocks I would find one of these trucks unloading. This wasn’t a rich part of town. The apartments here were probably even smaller than they looked if they match such similar apartments in similar areas of Istanbul. But as crowded as these homes probably already were, I watched over and over again these kind and loving citizens open their homes to those who had been evicted (on pain of death) from theirs. Were they family? Were they coworkers to the ones they were inviting in? Were they random strangers who have a heart of gold? Whatever the reason, I cannot but help compare the response of the western world that has much a greater ability to help and yet continues to keep their doors closed.
React: Yesterday, I was walking along a beautiful path when a young Syrian boy started walking next to me. “Abi, abi,” he called out trying to get my attention. Abi means older brother. My mind was so caught up in a novel I am writing called, “My Brother’s Keeper” that I didn’t even notice when a younger brother was calling for help. I see these kids all the time. Sometimes I will give them some change. Other times I might pause and talk with them for a while even if I have nothing else to offer. Most of the time I will walk right on by.
It is really easy for me to get on here and write about the hundreds of scriptures that command us to show love for the destitute. It is much harder to live it out in real life. How many times have we ranted and railed about our opinions on whatever the latest social media, social justice, hot-button issue might be? How many times have we let the issues being brought to the forefront actually influence our lives? I am passionate about refugees and so this immigration news probably means a bit more to me than most. So what am I going to do about it? What are the passions God has placed in you? Maybe it is veteran care, or the foster system, or the murder of preborn babies, or… What gets you angry?
Now, what will you do about it? Will you just share a meme, or will you get off your butt and actually make a real difference?
The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows. Do you? Prove it.
For all the times I have missed out on the opportunity to entertain angels because I was lost inside of my own little world, forgive me. For all the ways my actions have not matched my posts and words, forgive me. Give me the opportunity today to show Your love to a hurting world around me. But don’t just let me wait for such opportunities to fall in my lap, help me to seek them out. Let the love and compassion You have spill through me in my words, my prayers, and my actions so that by that love others might see You.