You’re sitting round the table after dinner. James, the funny one, who somehow manages to have a harmonica, is making everyone laugh. For a second all troubles are suspended. It’s warm. The night seems full of candlelight and friendship. At least, in here it does…
Outside the tent, the camp sprawls. But in spite of your moment of merriment, this is no holiday camp. It’s dark. Potential danger lurking in every shadow.
Or maybe it’s not – maybe it’s safe tonight. You have no way of knowing for sure. And it wouldn’t really matter if you could just stay inside – but you Really. Have. To. Go. Now.
You’ve been putting it off for ages. The feeling is starting to make you anxious. You need to jiggle a bit too much for comfort. See – well… actually... that’s exactly the problem. Out there, you can’t see. Can’t see what’s around the corner. Who’s watching? Who’s following? What their intentions are…?
A simple trip to the toilet shouldn’t be such an ordeal.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the images weren’t so vividly burned on the back of your eyelids. Of where you came from, what you’ve run from. If they didn’t tell you that bad things do happen. Even when you hope they won’t.
What if this were your life? My life?
What if it were us? If it isn’t, it could so easily have been. We didn’t intelligently make the right choice of where to be born. If we’ve avoided these trials, it wasn’t by our own wisdom.
What if this were our darkness? What then?
Something as basic as a safe toilet built nearby can mean something that should be just a regular thing, stays just a regular thing.
Something as simple as providing solar lighting in a refugee camp can change someone’s life. Our partners do this in places like Bangladesh, where almost a million Rohingya people have fled the most terrible violence and now live in refugee camps.
The word of God made practical – a lamp for feet, a light in the darkness.
Something as crucial as providing psychosocial support for those carrying emotional scars, can help bring peace and courage to face life and find restored hope. Our partners are working in places like Syria to be this support. To model a Comforter. A High Priest who is full of compassion.
Something as simple as a whispered prayer for a distant person who, in reality, is not so different to us, but faces a world that might be, can change things significantly. Not least us.
Each small thing matters.
What would we do? If it were us? Even if it’s not?
What will we do? (Or continue to do?) How will we pray? (Or continue to pray?)
‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”’ (Matt 25:40)
- Praise God for every blessing. For safety and provision, if we have those. For peace, wherever we find it.
- Pray for the protection of all who live in difficult situations – for whom sometimes the simplest things, which can be so easy to take for granted in other circumstances, can seem overwhelmingly hard.
- Thank God that he hears our prayers. That we are not helpless or hopeless as we lift our eyes to him and reach out to meet each other’s needs.