I spent a lovely day with our children today. We took Sam to swim class, Madeleine and I did our regular Daddy/daughter walk to Starbucks, and I spent hours holding our three week old, Benjamin, as he slept.
In the midst of those precious moments – at the back of my mind – was sadness at the experience of other children. Especially children in Iraq.
Despite our sleep deprived state, we have tracked with the news of violence in Iraq against Christians and other minority groups. I’ve read a number of articles (including this one by Russell Moore). The use of the Arabic letter ‘N’ ن on social media has steadily increased.
But over the last few days the news has reached a crescendo. The United States is taking limited military action. There are increasing calls to deal with the humanitarian crisis. And there are shocking stories, including the death of a 5 year old boy (not much older than my oldest son) – cut in half at the hands of ISIS.
I felt compelled. Not only to change my profile pic but to reflect on what more we can do.
Our family is preparing to serve in Costa Rica in part because we want to bless our children by giving them a heart for the nations. We want our kids to see that the gospel transcends race, creed, culture, and geography.
We serve a God who loves children (Matthew 19) and who urges His people to have a heart for the next generation (Psalm 78). And yet we live in a world where many children are not safe, not loved, not valued as those made in the image of their Creator.
As I continue to turn these events over in my mind. I would suggest Christians prayerfully consider (at least) these three responses:
- Pray – pray for these persecuted believers and other minority groups affected by this crisis. Pray for government leaders around the world that they would make wise decisions. And pray for Jesus to return soon. (Prayer is the most practical thing we can do.)
- Raise awareness – the use of the Arabic letter “N” is a great start, but we can do more. We can give to relief efforts in Iraq (like this one). We can talk to our friends and neighbors about this crisis. We can urge our leaders to act courageously.
- Talk to our children – the folks at Children Desiring God posted a great blog earlier this week that guides parents in engaging their children on this issue. It’s important we prayerfully consider age appropriate ways to talk with our children about these tragic events.
This afternoon I was singing Benjamin the hymn we chose for him before he entered the world – A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. The closing lines seem appropriate as we pray for those suffering all over the world:
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.