He Shall Feed His Flock

arabic-n-christians-iraq1Over the last several weeks, news has trickled out of Iraq and Syria. News of persecution, of ethnic and religious cleansing, of genocide. We have responded by changing our profile pictures, offering up prayers, and petitioning our political leaders. But the news has continued. News of churches burning, of thousands starving on barren mountain tops, and then this week, of even children being beheaded. At some point, it is simply too much.

We want to look away, to go about our business, to focus on the world that is near. We want do this--not because we don't feel the weight of what is happening there--but because we feel it too much. We are mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, and we know that these could be our own children and our own families who are lost, thirsty, confused, and dying. In truth, they are. And when we consider this, when we let the reality of what is happening sink in, we are overwhelmed.

Our souls simply can't handle it.

So we turn away. We cook our meals, we hug our children, and we offer up prayers for our brothers and sisters. But if, for a moment, we consider it; if even for a moment we feel the weight, the unbelievable weight, of their loss, we have a chance to share in their suffering.  And when we share in their suffering, we may also be comforted with them. We may be comforted by the One who promises to feed His flock, who promises to gather the lambs with His arms, who promises to gently lead those that are with young.

And truthfully, these promises are all that any of us have.


(Disclaimer: The images in the following were collected from various media outlets and used solely for the education of my audience. The background music is from a 2008 London Philharmonic recording of G.F. Handel's Messiah.)

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