Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
What would it feel like to be treated as an absolute nobody? A persona non-grata? A person who, no matter what, nothing you did mattered? I think it is truly hard for most of us to relate to this, but…
Just the other day I got a notice in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles. They told me that I have to go down and “update” the picture on my driver’s license. You see, I was given one of those driver’s licenses that lasts just about as long as you do, and my picture on it was taken just after I started shaving. Whenever I have to show it to someone (TSA for instance) they look at it, then at me, then at it, then at me. You get the idea. Let’s just say it is not current.
So, I did what I always dread having to do. I went to the DMV.
When I got there, I was immediately confused. Since I avoid this place like the plague, things had changed since I was last there. I stood trying to figure out where I was supposed to go. I couldn’t get anyone’s attention to ask for help. Nobody seemed to care that I was there, or that I was completely lost and disoriented. Eventually I was able to make contact with another human being who told me I was supposed to get in that line “over there.” That long line. Which I did. When I eventually made it to the front of the line, I had an interesting conversation with a guy to whom I explained why I was there. He told me what I needed to do to get my picture taken, which I did. When I thought I was all done, I got sent to another line. I was again at the back of the line. This was a longer line that took a much longer time to move. It was just one of five or six different lines. I’m not at all sure what the difference was between the lines. I was, however, where I was told to be.
I spent my hour in that line in utter unbelief. Yes, hour. I couldn’t help but ask myself a thousand questions. How can this take so long? Why does that line over there move so much faster? Why can’t I just change lines? Who’s in charge of this? Why do I have to do this anyway? Can’t I just pay someone to do this for me? Again, you get the idea.
Eventually, it was my turn. I was directed to a particular counter. The clerk to whom I was assigned was a trainee. Everything this person did had to be approved by yet another clerk. Let’s just say it took a while. I feared I would have to get yet another picture taken having aged so much while I was there.
Why am I telling you all this? Simply to ask this question…
What would it be like to live this experience over and over again?
Most of us in America live incredibly blessed and privileged lives. When we have a couple of hours of inconvenience, like the ones I’ve just described, it is far from the normal routine of our lives. It is “just a few hours.” We deal with it and then thank God we don’t have to do this again for another decade.
But, what if…?
- What if this was pretty much the normal routine of your life?
- What if you lived in a war-torn country that was full of civil unrest that was destroying your country and everything you knew was falling apart around you?
- What if you were forced to flee your home just to preserve your life and the lives of your children?
- What if this fleeing forced you into another country just to stay alive?
- What if you couldn’t find a job there but rather found yourself in some kind of “camp” with others of like circumstance?
- What if the camp was full of squalor?
- What if you couldn’t get the food you needed to feed your family?
- What if you couldn’t speak the language of those around you?
- What if it seemed to you that no one cared about you and no one was willing to help you?
- What if other people chose to resent you just because you found yourself in this plight?
- WHAT IF IT ALL SEEMED UTTERLY HOPELESS???
What would that make you?
Most likely, it would make you A REFUGEE!
And, as a refugee, it would make you one of the most feared, most maligned, most resented and most misunderstood groups of people on the planet!
But what if it was YOU? And what if you couldn’t do anything about it?
Hey church, I want to challenge you to do something. I want to challenge you to seek to understand the plight of refugees. I want to challenge you to suspend your assumptions and your conclusions and actually seek to understand the real issues surrounding the current refugee crisis facing the world. This is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime, and most of us have little understanding of what’s actually going on.
But what if?
- What if we did understand?
- What if we sought to help those who desperately needed compassion?
- What if we asked ourselves what Christ would have us do and then did it???
So here’s the deal: What you’ll find below is a video of a recent national webinar I want to encourage you to watch. It features a number of people who understand well what this crisis is all about and what can be done to help move the problem toward resolution. You’ll hear from the heads of several international relief agencies, from several pastors, and you’ll hear from my wife, Lisa, who was asked to lend her voice to this conversation.
What have you got to lose by seeking to understand more? Buckle up, press play, and prepare to be both informed and challenged!