I hope you’ve seen the pictures. Three-year-old Aylan washed up on the shore, drowned while escaping. Masses of refugees crowding streets under the shells of bombed out buildings. Inflated rafts spilling over with people fleeing war-torn Syria. The seventy-one suffocated bodies found in a refrigerated truck, all victims of human trafficking. Refugee camps stretched out acre upon acre of makeshift tents.
The plight of the Syrian refugees is heartbreaking. A humanitarian crisis. An immigrant migration not duplicated since World War II.
Europe is struggling to handle the crisis as 381,000 refugees have arrived this year alone. Millions more are displaced. Over 3,000 are missing—likely killed or kidnapped. Many are drowning en route to safety.
In a Wall Street Journal article, Peggy Noonan wrote, “According to the U.N. refugee agency, 53% of the migrants are from Syria, 14% from Afghanistan, 7% from Eritrea, and 3% each from Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq and Somalia. Seventy-two percent are men, only 13% women and 15% children. Not all are fleeing war. Some are fleeing poverty. Not all but the majority are Muslim.”
And then there is the Iran Deal. I never thought I’d see the day when the President of the United States would sign an agreement that leads to the development of nuclear arms with a sworn enemy of both the U.S. and Israel. The unrest in the Middle East is real, and it is only going to get worse.
As Christians, I don’t believe we can look at crises such as these and simply shrug our shoulders and return to business as usual. As stewards of the gospel message we must get involved. And as recipients of the prophetic truths recorded in Scripture, we must see these events through an eternal lens.
What can we do regarding the crisis in Syria? Nothing and everything.
There is little you or I can do regarding the political powers at play in Syria and the Middle East. We can certainly call our elected officials and ask for decisive action to be taken toward ISIS. But from a political standpoint, that’s about the extent of it.
From a Christian standpoint, however, we can do much more. The fact is most of the millions of people fleeing Syria are Muslim. Most have never heard the gospel. Many are more tender to the gospel at this moment than they have been at any other point in their lives.
Our church recently took an offering to assist two of our pastor friends there who are having Muslims daily come to them for help. We want those people to receive food, but also the gospel of Jesus. I would encourage every American Christian to invest now in gospel ministry to these very needy people. Contact your missionaries in Europe. Ask them what they are doing and how you can help. We can’t miss our moment to share God’s love and give the gospel.
European leaders have no good options right now. This surge of Muslim refugees is going to lead to a population disproportionate to either Christianity or the more common secularism. Yet Europe cannot ignore the plight of needy people. They worry about the ability to support the influx of residents. And they have great concerns about ISIS infiltration.
Meanwhile the looming Iran Deal is only destabilizing the Middle East. Israel is threatened—not just with war, but with annihilation. Russia is flexing her muscles. China seems to be preparing her options.
With big problems and no answers leaders will agree on, the stage is setting for a leader who has answers everyone likes—the Antichrist.
Scripture tells us that the Antichrist will have all kinds of answers. He’ll have the power and persuasion to set up a one world government (Revelation 17) and the negotiating ability to make a treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). Both of these kinds of answers are of the type for which the world is increasingly looking.
Looking through an Eternal Lens
As a patriotic American, I wish for decisive action in these unfolding events that would protect our nation and restore the American interest in giving freedom to oppressed peoples around the world. In the next election, I’ll vote that direction.
But, if we look at world events with an eye only for ourselves or our children and grandchildren, we will become fearful and angry and miss the larger implications of prophecy.
If we instead look at these events through a prophetic lens, we are reminded of Christ’s soon return (which gives us hope) and our responsibility to boldly proclaim the gospel (which stirs us to action).
As we serve the Lord in these last days, I challenge you: live with eternity in view. Witness for Christ and live in the hope of His return.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ—Titus 2:13