Life where I lived was so hard. Things were so bad in part because everyone made sure that they got what they wanted first. It was kill or be killed. At least it seemed that way many days. I just remember living in fear of what would happen to me if the wrong people saw me in the wrong place. I lived in fear that what I said or did would cause someone else to be hurt. I just wanted to live someplace safe. I dreamed that I could someday live inside the castle walls where it must be safe.
One day I awoke. It started as the most ordinary day one could have, but it ended as being anything but ordinary. I was out searching for food when the son of the King of the castle walked by! He wasn't wearing royal robes or anything, but I knew from his look that it was him. It was his look that changed everything. I don't know how else to describe it. Normally when people looked at me I could see in their eyes that they thought very little of me. If anything the reflection in their eyes was one of pity and disgust. But in his eyes...I found myself staring in amazement. As I looked into his eyes I saw how he saw me. His eyes told a story of compassion. His eyes told me that I had value. I fell in love with him as I gazed into his eyes because I felt that he loved me.
He reached down to me and lifted me up off the ground. He asked if I wanted to enter the castle. My heart jumped and began beating so fast, I was sure it would burst out of my chest and run away! It had been my hope and my dream for so long to enter that castle. But I knew that I wouldn't fit in. I didn't have the right clothes. I was dirty and unwashed. I didn't act like I should. Then as if the son could sense the reason for my hesitation, he knelt down to my eye level and whispered to me. He told me that while all that I thought was true, that he would take care of everything so that I could live in the castle. The only requirement from me was that I had to trust him and give him full authority over everything in my life. I did so and that was the day that I left my life as a refugee behind.
I don't live in the castle yet, although the son continues to meet with me. He assures me that he has washed me and so now I am clean. He assures me that because of my obedience I now know how to live in the castle. I have often wondered why I couldn't go to the castle sooner, but the son assured me that he needed me right where I was for a little while longer. The son needed me to introduce other refugees to him so that he could prepare them to live in the castle as well. Although I still live in outside the castle walls and the land around me is still evil, I find that I live in joy now. I know my day to live inside the castle walls will come, but for now I seek to find those who will join me inside the castle and I introduce them to the son. Life can still be hard, but it is the best life outside the castle I can imagine living.
As we contemplate our position, behaviors, and our roles regarding refugees, may we remember that we too were once refugees and that how we respond speaks to how we view the one who rescued us.
May we remember the look of condemnation we receive from this world when we look into the eyes of those who serve the evil one. So many are destroyed simply because when they look into the eyes of others they are reminded that they are dirty and unworthy. May we represent Jesus with our eyes and as we see those who are not yet found, may we see them with the eyes of Jesus. May our eyes reflect his love and acceptance. May the refugees look into our eyes and know that they are loved, have value, and can be made new.