The news reports are preoccupied with the many families fleeing the Middle East — mostly Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan — desperately trying to get into Europe, as if Europe were a safe haven. As is becoming evident, after so many days and so much expense in order to make the journey, they are being greeted by reluctance if not open hostility. Europe is in no way ready to receive them. But it is evident that these peoples — Muslims, Christians, people of all kinds and of all walks of life — are desperately voting with their feet.
In a sense this pattern of migration is not new. The western world has benefited for many years by the flight of the middle classes, the professional and educated elements of these societies. Those folks have been fleeing the troubled parts of Asia and Africa for years. What is new here is that these refugees are from all levels of society: the poor, the weak, the sick, the broken. Everyone that has the means to flee seems to be fleeing.
So what drives them out of their homes, their whole social worlds? Here is a note I received from a friend from one of those countries.
Tragedy and pain have found their way into my every organ today. What has turned my world upside down is that I have no solution to the problems I see. I have become mute. There’s too much suffering — way beyond my comprehension. Why God punishes its people when they are innocent? It’s on these trying days that we’d like to doubt God’s existence, His glory, His powers. But as I probe into the territory of the divine, it’s then that I see Him most vividly. Suffering and pain — contrary to the conventional belief — can make us a whole lot closer to the Almighty. I’m a fighter. Even though I despise the world and all its designs sometimes, I am grateful for all that has been bestowed upon me; and I feel lucky to be alive, fully functional — with all my cognitive faculties intact. In the midst of darkness, there’s always light. And that’s why I must remain sanguine and continue to stay in the fight and forge ahead.
At some point in the course of events we can come to the point when desperation leads us, as he says, to appeal to and seek help in the notion that there is a God who is above it all, who is well aware of the messy world that we live in, and is the only hope for any sense to be made in the human condition. If there is no judgment, if there is nothing to look for beyond this life, if there is no mercy, then there is no hope. It’s not good enough to rail at God. At some point we have to throw ourselves on the mercy of One who is bigger than the world as we know it and has, as generations before us have desired, a bigger plan.
In the mean time, “In the midst of darkness” we seek the light, and remain sanguine, and continue the fight, and forge ahead.
[See the following site for a helpful analysis of what has caused the movement to flee Syria: Click here]