The Forgotten Refugee
Don Alan* says he remembers a refugee telling him once that he didn’t feel alive, but he wasn’t dead either—he was somewhere in between.
“Hopelessness is a universal feeling among refugees,” Don said. “They feel forgotten.” That’s why IMB missionaries like Don, who serves in North Africa and the Middle East, and Seth Payton*, who works with refugees in Europe, spend their lives taking hope into those hopeless places.
Refugees come to Europe looking for a better life, and many times they find nothing.
“Refugees come to Europe looking for a better life, and many times they find nothing,” Seth said. Often, they’ve paid traffickers a high price for a long, miserable trip across the desert packed into a standing-room-only truck and then a dangerous boat ride across the Mediterranean Sea. If they make it alive, then they often can’t get jobs. They spend their days scrounging for food and their nights packed into an apartment with 15 other people.
“We pray that through this time God will open their hearts and draw them into His kingdom through the hope that He offers,” Seth said. “Hundreds of refugees from closed countries are becoming believers in Europe. So there are great things happening in the midst of a heartbreaking situation.”
- PRAY for God to meet refugees in their pain with the hope of the gospel.
- PRAY for people to feel God’s call to share Christ with refugees in the United States and abroad.
Devotion 3 on 1 John 2:12-14
We come now to the final tier of spiritual maturity John gives us in our text: Fathers.
In verse 13 we read, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” Again in verse 14, “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” One thing probably stands out about the description of fathers is that they get exactly the same description. Our immediate assumption could be to assume that they are insignificant. Don’t be fooled. These fathers have been children who know the Father and they have had their sins forgiven for His Name’s sake. These fathers have been young men, strong, with the Word of God abiding in them, with stories of battle victories over the evil one. Now, John says these fathers know Him who has been from the beginning.
Know Him. This doesn’t sound like much, but this is huge. There is a knowing Him that goes beyond knowing Him as Father. There is a knowing Him that goes beyond having our sin forgiven for His Name’s sake. There is a knowing Him that comes from walking with Him through many dangers, toils, and snares. There is a knowing Him that comes from walking with Him through many victories, revivals, and times of silence and the mundane. There is a knowing Him that comes from wrestling with Him time and time again through many different seasons of life
There is a knowing Him that comes from wrestling with Him through the night. Consider Genesis 32:24-32. This is when you really mature as a believer! When you have walked with God through so many struggles and joys that You really know Him! Abraham Kuyper wrote: In the midst of the conflict to be near unto God is blessed, and also apart from the conflict with the world, or sin, or Satan, when clouds gather over your head, when adversity, loss and grief inflict wound upon wound in your heart, when the fig tree does not blossom, and the vine will yield no fruit, then with Habakkuk to rejoice in God, because His blessed nearness is enjoyed more in sorrow than in gladness, this has been the lesson of history in all times.
The natural progression of spiritual maturity is from little children, to young men, to fathers. It is not about age. It is not about how long you have been a Christian. It is not about how long you have gone to church. Maturity is based on obedience. We must mature! Are you maturing? Are you progressing? Don’t lament the reality that you are a child when maybe you should be a father. Get moving!! Get maturing.
No premium was given to dwarfs; no encouragement to an old babyhood. The babies were to grow; the old, instead of feebleness and infirmities, were to bear fruit in old age, and be fat and flourishing. The divinest thing in religion is holy men and holy women. E.M. Bounds