Some arrive with a small bag, stuffed with belongings. Most only the clothes they are wearing.
Refugees might travel light, yet they come with heavy burdens.
They carry the weight of traumatic experiences—the horrors and fear of war, the death of loved ones, the destruction of their homes by fighting or natural disasters—often beyond what we can imagine.
You see it in their faces.
“I cannot smile,” one man told me, “I am from Syria.”
“Her face turned gray,” reported a colleague at our evening debrief, having seen a young woman try to commit suicide. “Her strangled herself and nearly died.”
Why, when she had traveled this far to relative safety on the tranquil island of Lesvos, did she now want to give up? The terrors came with her and became a millstone around her neck. Did she hope to escape them in the darkness of death?
Her sister saw a glimmer of light. “Pray to Jesus,” she cried out.
When nothing else works in life and we don’t know how to go on—Jesus makes a way forward.
Religion doesn’t save anyone. People know it. It is not enough to save you and me either.
Only Jesus can remove heavy burdens.
Only Jesus offers true peace.
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.”
Matthew 11:28 (TPT)
A camp provides physical refuge who those who arrive with nothing and have lost everything—a tent to sleep in, blankets, and a backpack with soap and other supplies.
Humanitarian assistance helps meet physical hardship, but only Jesus can bring comfort deep inside.
Our group sat together, noticeable as aid workers in our bright orange vests. One man came over and thanked us for our work.
“Which country do you want to move to?” Asked a colleague.
“Somewhere there is peace,” he replied.
Yet, peace is not a place, it’s a person.
Only Jesus can give true peace.
We find sanctuary when we let Jesus move into our lives, not when we move our lives to another country. I know this from experience. Jesus says:
“Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”
Matthew 11:29 (TPT)
This is a offer we shouldn’t refuse.