These are some of my thoughts on the refugee crisis presently being played out in Europe as millions of primarily Syrian refugees look to come in. This is a people displacement not seen in Europe since World War 2 and it is frankly dominating most media conversations throughout Europe. I believe that there is one root issue behind all the others and I will get to that in a moment.
Much of Europe is going through some very valuable heart and soul searching as individuals and nations weigh the three competing priorities of:
- Humanitarian Concerns
- Economic Concerns
- Security Concerns
I believe that the Lord is looking at their responses and is looking for opportunities to release favor, mercy and blessings on them as they make correct priorities. If we remember the Mt. 25, separating between sheep nations and goat nations, much was attached to Jesus saying "I was a stranger and you took me in" (sheep nation response), or "I was a stranger and you did not take me in" (goat nation response). When I was just in Europe there was a strong citizen surge in many or most nations to welcome the refugees. Especially so after a young Syrian refugees' body was shown across the news, as the picture and accompanying story line was quite touching.
However, shortly after that a report came out that an "ISIS operative" was known to be in one of the refugee camps and suddenly you could feel the shift into national security concerns. Also some nations were already having to shut down borders saying they no longer had an economic capacity to receive any more. For instance Greece, with the most troubled and bankrupt economy in Europe (near 50% unemployment) was having to deal with multitudes coming into their already fragile national economic picture.
These are all legitimate issues that test the heart and soul of nations and their people. However, I believe God is very involved in the process and I believe that as He sees nations and people choosing to be hopeful and generous rather than fearful and protectionists that He Himself will step in with the needed upgrade in the Security and Economic concerns. In Proverbs 19:17 it says that "He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay", and I believe this to be very applicable to what is taking place in Europe. Obviously here in America we are having a very similar debate with our own set of "strangers" and we presently seem moved more towards Security and Economic concerns than Humanitarian ones- though we have a strong history of Humanitarian response. For clarity sake- Humanitarian is the only non-selfish driven response as it is entirely "others-mindedness" whereas the other two concerns are clearly driven by self-protectionist fears. Fear based thinking is NEVER the Kingdom way, though it is often the logical way. Jesus never threw in the caveat that if they were "illegal" strangers then it was ok to turn them out, as if being hungry and in need were no longer applicable if a person didn't get a visa first.
The Ultimate Root Issue God is going after: Antisemitism
Having said all the above, the reality is that this entire refugee crisis if brought on by a tap root of antisemitism that God is exposing and going after. As a sub-issue the reason refugees are fleeing Muslim lands is because yet another dreadful mix of religion and murder is being advanced by yet another demonically inspired version of Islam- through ISIS. In some ways Europe could be seen as reaping in refugees their lack of resolve in previously limiting or eliminating ISIS. For many "war" is seen as an aggressive evil to be avoided at all costs but sometimes "war" is a righteous response to defend the defenseless and to straight out halt a clear face of evil. There are consequences for not engaging in "war" when it is called for. I was reading editorials in Europe asking themselves these very questions. Were they now needing to care for the very defenseless ones they wouldn't unite and protect by military intervention?
Of course, a major reason that it is hard to jump to war in Muslims lands is that there has been a continual absence of "the good side". Up until now all versions of Islam in all the 50 plus nations are bad versions. None of the 50 plus nations allows for freedom of religion and all of them seem to believe that ruthlessly enforcing their version of Islam by the sword is viable. We now have the recent 20 plus years of intervention in Muslim nations and the history of it all is whatever side we prop up, that side is abusive towards the other, until finally a backlash from the opposition arises and continues the vengeance cycle. We have gone back and forth deciding the Shiites are the worst, and then the Sunnis and then back again. Meanwhile they keep killing each other in atrocious ways. We now have ISIS and Al Qaeda in opposition to each other and in the nation of Syria we have the choice of backing a murderous dictator like Assad or if we weaken him if gives rise to ISIS...and so forth and so on. It has truly been like trying to decide which is worse- cancer or AIDS. Up until now all of the Muslim governmental options have been bad ones.
The reason the root issue is anti-semitism is that all present national manifestations of Islam have two things in common- they are anti-semitic (usually in very explicit "they must be exterminated" kind of way) and they are against Christianity and freedom. It is a demonically infused root that there is no reasoning with. The good news is that heaven has released it's own front line assault on the principality enslaving the Muslim masses and there is an incredible exodus from Islam presently taken place that includes 25,000 a day coming to Christ. The more extreme core Islam remains the faster the exodus will take place.
Europe is having there own taproot of anti-Semitism gone after by God. They have been quite united in their condemnation of Israel and it's perceived lack of Humanitarian response to the plight of suffering Palestinians (perhaps Germany has been best here). Yet there has been a baffling ignorance of how hard it is to be Humanitarian with a people whose government constitution has your extermination as a central tenet and who are almost daily trying to send missiles into your neighborhoods. Europe has been quite unfair and unjust in her attitudes towards Israel and there is a scriptural Obadiah 1:15 activation that comes from that. There it says "As you have done (to Israel) it will be done to you." Europe is increasingly having to deal with the Israel realities of trying to humanitarianly care for those who end game is your destruction and the establishment of their sharia law. The more Europe is unjust towards Israel the more their own internal woes with their Muslim population will threaten their own security. As they begin to better comprehend the clear black and white realities that Israel faces the more they have a chance at receiving grace. As they properly respond toward Israel - included are the ongoing matters and deals with Iran- then God steps in and covers them in key areas they need covering.
So then, in closing, God is as always doing several things at the same time on the world's stage:
1. He will be continuously reminding the nations to righteously respond towards Israel- His declared "first born among the nations" and through whom the promises came through. There is a constant honor due them for that- though it does not extend to giving carte blanche approval for everything they do.
2. He is aggressively going after the other descendants of Abraham (Muslims) as He sets them free from the demonic darkness of the religious demon they have been under. It is insightful that they are escaping not towards the other 50 plus Muslim nations but towards lands with some greater level of freedom. The cry for freedom is about to go turbo among Muslims.
3. He is giving Europe another chance to recognize and respond correctly towards anti-semitic roots sown unto them by the ancient Christian fathers (Augustine etc.) and the Protestant fathers (Luther, Calvin etc.). Islam is also a judgment against the dead religion that infected Europe and became a seedbed for humanism. Fires are about to light up the dry structures of Europe as a heavenly wild fire will rage out of control with God's grace.
4) He is looking to give European nations an opportunity to access more grace and help for their economies as they follow His heart. Without Him much of Europe has a hopeless economic outlook. With Him dead economies can rise from the dead.
Now as long as this post is, it is as short as possible while still covering even briefly some of what God is doing right now in Europe. If you live in Europe you can be very hopeful as God is aggressively going after Europe's heart and is about to dump a boatload of heaven into Europe to awaken her into life and destiny.