We are blessed here at Youth With A Mission to be exposed to incredible things around the world that few will ever experience. This privilege is what propels many of us out of bed to continue doing what we do as full-time missionaries. However, through this privilege there has been some difficult, inconceivable moments revealing the depths of human depravity. We have taken a glimpse into what Jeremiah 17 is really saying, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
For most of April and May I was on the island of Lesvos, Greece participating with YWAM Tyler at an infamous refugee compound called Camp Moriah. The reputation that preceded itself was not created for lack of experience. Several of the guys that were on our team were at the Camp in November, and the atmosphere they described is what I picture Ellis Island or Europe to resemble during World War II: people sleeping on the ground, rationed soup bowls, and EVERYONE fearing for their lives. Unfortunately, as soon as we got there many of those pre-suppositions were upheld.
At the camp's main entrance, there was a group of 12 P.O.C's (Person of Concern) on an indefinite hunger strike. When asked by another volunteer what the group was hoping to accomplish, a Syrian man responded, "I just hope I am not the one, but when it happens and one of us dies, then the media will come, and the world will know." It was agonizing to see these Arab men, who fled murder by the hands of ISIS, now killing themselves. They were anticipating death by malnourishment for the sake of making a point, DESPITE having three meals a day provided.The conditions were far from ideal, but stooping to that level of desparation demonstrated just how urgent their plea to be heard by the world was. It was difficult to understand their refusal of food. At first I was angry! 'How could they slap the relief workers and volunteers in the face like that?'
Then, God spoke. It was not my job to try and understand the psyche; all I was there to do, was demonstrate HIS love. I could never possibly understand what they were doing or why, but neither could most at that camp. Irregardless it was happening, and I could only control what I could control: my thoughts, emotions, and opinions. How entitled and self-righteous I was acting. I had become the very thing I was complaining about.
Recently, while reading Ecclesiastes a verse in the first chapter painfully stood out, "in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases in knowledge increases in sorrow." The past three months I have definitely increased in knowledge, but true to this verse it came with seeing some tough situations. So what is Solomon saying? What is his solution? And how does this pertain to present-day?
While working at the epicenter of a humanitarian emergency like the European refugee crisis, I felt like an ostrich getting his head pulled out of the sand. Realistically, this situation is not going to end well for most, and that hurts me. I continued in Ecclesiastes, and the truth Solomon stands on is found in chapter 3, and it requires the relinquishing of the desire to know what God is doing.
Once that expectation is given up he concludes, "(We) cannot see the full scope of God's work from beginning to end...there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can...for these are gifts from God." You see, God is sovereign, and as Christians we must be okay with that. Isaiah 40:12 describes God measuring the "depths of the ocean in the palm of HIS hands."
God is loving and He hates the suffering caused by evil on the earth. But He's given us hope and the privilege to offer hope and demonstrate His love to others. He suffered and died and rose again, that we might have life and rest in Him. What a privilege to rest in His great love. Even after all I've seen, I am quite comfortable being right there, resting-NOT worrying, confident-NOT distressed.
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