Thursday, May 21, 2015

Do Something. Bring Justice. Help Iraq.

I was going to write something today about leaving work. Or about how worried I am about my daughters who are on a trip together. Or about life here in the suburbs.

But I’m sitting in a coffee shop that employs third culture kids as a ministry, and I’m thinking about how difficult it must be for them to be away from home, to be away from their parents for sometimes years at a time while they come here for an education. That’s hard.

My leaving my job isn’t that hard. It’s a little hard, but it was my decision. Completely under my control.

My concerns for my kids are just that—concerns, not true, outright fears. They will be fine.

My life? Couldn’t be cushier.

So I’m sitting here sipping my tea and listening to music and enjoying my suburban life when I read this. And this. And this from Ann Voskamp.

Suddenly, writing about my cushy life seems thoroughly unimportant. Insignificant, even. Almost bordering on sinful, if I’m honest.

Last month, Ann went to Iraq, despite her father’s pleadings and her children’s fears. She needed to see for herself what was going on, and, oh boy, did she report.

Let me tell you, CNN’s got nothing on Ann Voskamp. In fact, if you listen to the news these days you get a picture of some savages running around the Middle East, cutting off a few heads, and generally running amok. Oh yeah, and kidnapping girls. Hundreds at a time.

But CNN and Fox and ABC and all the others seem to report and rarely follow up. I’ve found myself wondering, “What happened to those 300 girls?” Hardly a word. We did hear last week that some girls were released, but were they the 300 we heard about a few months ago or were they others? We don’t know.

And now that ISIS is spreading throughout the region, running faster with their swords wielded, do the news outlets tell us what’s happening to families? Maybe a word here and there, but nothing in depth.

So Ann went to see for herself. And she reported back. In depth.

Girls? Well, the situation for girls in the Middle East isn’t so good. Rape, torture, trafficking—these are real things. Girls as young as nine. years. old. are having babies just so Islamist extremists (and that’s exactly what they are, Mr. President) can progenate and continue their horrors.

Education? If you’re being raped and having babies at a young age, the hope of another life, a better life through education, is pretty much gone. When you’re on the run for your life you pretty much can’t think about school.

Families? Fathers and sons are being shot at a frightening pace; girls are safe, for now. They are needed. For now. But families are being torn apart, either because of death, violence, or terrible choices that have to be made by parents.

Years ago I read Night by Eli Weisel. In this very moving book, Weisel describes the choices that he watched as train cars crammed with Jews were loaded up and taken to concentration camps. Sometimes the cars would be so full that mothers had to leave children behind, never sure whether they would see their babies again. The pain and fear were palpable.

What I read this morning on Ann’s blog reminded me so much of Weisel’s book, and I found myself wondering, Could this be happening again? Silly question—it IS happening again. Only the dictator, the one running the show, isn’t one insane person—it’s a movement of evil forces like a wind blowing hard across the region. It’s a spiritual fight.

Friends, I don’t know why I’m writing this—I’m not an activist. But when I read Ann’s words this morning I was captivated, so moved that I had to do something. Maybe this is just a start. Who knows? Maybe just letting you know that this thing that gets about a minute and thirty seconds on the news at night is much bigger than we can even imagine is enough. If even one person reads this and starts praying, maybe that’s enough.

Here’s what I know. Earlier this week on an average Tuesday I read these words and stopped. And I read them again. And again. And I was so convicted.
“The LORD looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed.” Isaiah 59:15-16.

There is was, right in front of my eyes. And in my heart. What have I done for the oppressed? What will I do?

What will you do?

I often feel helpless. I don’t know the needs. But now I do, and I must do something because God will hold me accountable.

My cushy life here means nothing—nothing—if I’m not using what I have to help the oppressed. Here we are, confronted with our generation’s holocaust. What will we do? How will we fight?


  1. That verse. That's it, right there. Processing feels impossible with this. Thank you for sharing here.

  2. Amazing post Shelly. So very true. There is so much going on . . . and our President does NOTHING. I am like so many others . . . I want to do something, but don't know what to do. I read Ann's blog as well and am appalled at what is going on over there. I know that God's heart is broken. Thanks for sharing your heart. I am praying for God to intervene.

  3. Shelly, I feel so much like you do. I feel silly posting about the latest fashion when families and women and little girls are being terrorized. This IS our generation's holocaust. I want to stand up and fight. But how? Thank you for speaking out and sharing your heart.

  4. I was reminded at church tonight that nothing will happen that God does not allow. I also asked myself what I was willing to give up for peace in the Middle East? My comfort, my security? Are we really willing to work with our current government and muslims for peace?

  5. It's been a while since I commented Shelly - I'm so password inept!

    You're right - we can't do nothing. We need to read - be aware - really aware. And stay that way! We need to pray intelligently and use the resources put out there by organizations that have them. (Voice of the Martyrs, Operation World, Radical, for example). We can give. We can't do it all, but we can do what God prompts us to do. And talk about it - raise awareness, like you're doing, encouraging each other to act.

    We're talking about this with our kids, praying together for our persecuted brothers and sisters, and making Mothers Day, Fathers Day, & birthdays occasions for donations to places like Samaritans Purse that support the people in the mid-east.

    Thanks for putting this out there - and keep fighting the good fight! Cindy