Does God Care About the Children in Syria?

Does God care about the children in Syria?
Does he even see them?

Photo: AFP rudaw.net

The other day, I was half watching the News, half eating my lunch, when they broadcast a report from Syria. I was suddenly faced with a little boy. He’d been sat on a chair, under the television lights, and he was bleeding – wounded from yet another attack in Syria. He had a cut on his head, and when he put his hands up to feel, he got blood on his fingers. He then didn’t know what to do. I watched as he instinctively went to wipe them on the chair, realised he was being watched, so instead slowly wiped them on his trousers. I nearly cried. He was a little boy, just the same as my sons were, as every little boy I have taught. I could see what he was thinking, that as he sat there, he was worrying about the blood on his hands and he didn’t know what to do. I wanted to tell him it didn’t matter, to take him to a sink and wash him and bandage him. I wanted to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, that this war – which is full of complex politics – was the fault of grown-ups. That he deserved better.

So, as my heart ached for this one child, I wondered – does God care? Does he even see? And if so, why doesn’t he act?

The reason I’m writing this, is because I have just listened to a talk about God seeing. (I tend to miss the talks at my church because I’m usually with the children, so I catch up online later.) The talk (which was brilliant) is too long to tell you completely, but it made one point I will share with you.

Imagine you are waiting for someone, and she is late. If they are a stranger to you, you might be irritated, or angry that they are wasting your time and not bothering to let you know. You might even decide to get up and leave, they have messed you around and missed their chance. But if you know that person, if they are a close friend or relative, and someone who has always been reliable in the past, who has always been on time, never let you down, then your reaction would be different. You might be concerned that something had happened to them. You would be confident that they are late because there is a valid reason.

The same is true with God. We may not understand why bad things are happening, but if we know him, if we have experienced his love in our own lives, if we are confident that he is truly good, truly God, then we can trust him with this too.

Sometimes we don’t know why. Sometimes things are too sad, too horrible, too painful to comprehend. In those times, all we can do is trust. The God who we know to be loving and faithful and right, the God who is God, does care. And he does see. And when the time is right, he will sort it.

Photo: Unicef

The link for the talk is below. It lasts about 40 minutes, and is worth finding the time to listen.

https://www.godstonebc.org/sermons/el-roi-the-god-who-sees/

Thank you for reading.
Have a good week.
Love, Anne x

*****
You can follow my blog at: anneethompson.com

Anne E. Thompson has written several novels and one non-fiction book. You can find her work in bookshops and Amazon.

(I took the photographs from Google. They are possibly copyrighted, so I have tried to credit them accordingly.)

Refugee Crisis

I admire all those kind people who are offering spare rooms or rental cottages to the refugees. We have all seen the pictures and I doubt anyone is unmoved. How can we ignore those families desperate enough to risk their lives to try and find somewhere safe to live? To see children who have drowned, children who look like my own boys did at that age, is too horrible for words. My heart weeps for them. But, I have a problem.

Whilst all the above is true, completely true, why do we find it so easy to ignore other people in dire need? Why have these immigrants touched us when so many others have not? Why am I moved almost to tears at a photograph of a small boy lying dead in the sea, when I have watched film after film of children in Africa who are wasting away for want of food and clean water? What is the difference?

These are not rhetorical questions, I really would like to know the answer. I am mystified by my reaction and yet I see it multiplied time and again in the media. Is it because these people have actually arrived at our door, are a step away from being in the UK? Is it because the children resemble so closely my own, so I can relate to them more easily than to those who look different? I do not know.

An interesting element in all this is that we were told about these very same refugees months and months ago, when the war first broke out in Syria. I was invited by charities such as Tearfund and Save the Children to send money to help provide food and shelter for these same children. And I did, I dutifully sent off something to help. But I didn’t cry. I didn’t wonder if I could have a couple living in my spare room. What has changed?

Do you think it is the media attention? Am I just being manipulated into feeling things that otherwise would pass me by? I do not think so. I think it is good that their plight has been brought to our attention. It is easy to live in our cocoons of comfort and fail to notice those who need our help.

However, I do think that we need to use our brains here, to react emotionally but also to behave sensibly. Is it better to home refugees in the UK or to provide safe places in their own land? I do not know. I do know that there are several charities who have been working since the crisis began to try and do just that. It is easy to ignore them and to think that we know best, we know what to do.

I don’t have any answers here but I do think we all need to think about these questions. What actually makes a Syrian child touch us when an African one does not? Do we somehow value one over the other? I do hope not.