“There’s lots of people among these refugees who are ISIS sympathizing young men going thru with rampages in Italy and the Austrian border,” one friend said to me. My friend’s solution to this concern? “Let’s shut the borders in Europe or allow women and children only to enter as refugees”. My friend concluded her argument by saying, “What if ISIS infiltrates the ranks of refugees to enter the west so they can come and kill us?”
Should Europe shut down Her borders so that ISIS will not enter? Should America ban Syrian refugees from coming to the US for fear that some of them might be ISIS sympathizers?
A parallel story is found in the pages of our Bible that speaks to this modern day concern…
Saul was a Christian hater. He despised and disdained anyone who claimed to follow Christ. Each breath he took was filled with murderous threats against God’s people (Acts 9:1). When the Lord stunted Saul’s mission and stifled his vision on the road to Damascus in Syria, He offered a ray a hope that a man named Ananias would be the instrument whereby the Lord will use to restore Saul’s vision (Acts 9:11-12)
The Lord, however, encountered a snag in the story. Upon visiting Ananias in a vision and telling him to seek Saul and restore his sight back to him, Ananias responded in fear and trepidation. Ananias retorted, “Lord are you sure you want me to do this? Are you not aware that if this man had a bomb, he would strap it on his body walk in our midst to detonate it to kill us? Do you not know that if he had an airplane, he would’ve blasted it into the upper room and killed all those who believe in You? Are you sure this a good idea?” (my own translation of Acts 9:15-16)
The Lord could have responded with, “Oh, Ananias! You’re right! This a bad idea. Why don’t you, your family and all My followers hide in the nearest storm shelter until this tornado named Saul passes through!” But that is not how Jesus responded. The Lord said, “GO!” Acts (9:15).
You see, the Lord does not want us to cower to fear but to respond in faith. He said He did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power, sound mind and love (2 Tim. 1:7). He tells us that we will triumph by His blood, our testimony and not loving our lives as to shrink from death (Rev. 12:11). He calls us to an extreme and insane love that extends to loving our enemies and praying for them (Matt 5:44).
The fact of the matter is ISIS will infiltrate the west with or without the refugees. As a matter of fact, they have done so already. Have you watched the news lately? What they do is not our concern, it our government’s concern to stop them, stifle them and wage war against them. And I pray our government and our allies will be swift and victorious in that endeavor! But we can’t fear them so much that we shut all refugees out!
My pastor, JR Vassar, said in his sermon, “Fear is surrendering to people what belongs to God.” He added, “Don’t give fear more authority than God.” JR said instead of asking “what if” we should be declaring “If God.”
So in the refugee crisis, rather than ask, “WHAT IF ISIS comes to the US through the refugee crisis?” we should say, “IF GOD’s Hand is in this and wants to bring these refugees to the US so that they may know Him, He will be our Protector and Defender.” IF GOD wants people from every tribe and nation to know Him, then He will use this crisis to accomplish it. IF GOD loves people, then love should be my driving force to reach these refugees! We should not live in the WHAT IF but give our lives to IF GOD!