I am praying for Afghanistan. I am praying for their people and praying for the Taliban. I am praying for God to work and be merciful to His people. Yes, we should pray.
But I am also praying that we would do more than pray. That we would speak up for the dignity of all humankind as an extremist authoritative government comes into power. That we would find ways to provide a place of shelter and peace for Afghan refugees.
The Comparison with Vietnam
Many are comparing these last days in Afghanistan with the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Photographs are eerily similar. Helicopters with people trying to hold on, desperate to leave. Airports overrun, full of people fearing for their lives, fearing for what’s to come with a new authoritative regime. People on rooftops of embassies waiting for a way out. Unfortunately, we’ve been here before.
I was born in Vietnam right after the Fall of Saigon, and I thank God I was too young to remember the horrors of living under a communist regime. When I think of the extremist values of the Taliban toward women and those opposed to their views, I can only cry out, “Lord, have mercy!” In the coming months and years, many will try to escape, and many will die trying. Many will die anyway for their beliefs.
By the grace of God my family and I were able to escape Vietnam two years after the communist regime took over. I had relatives who stayed because they knew the journey over the ocean would be dangerous. Whether you escape or stay, danger awaits, and your life will never be the same again. The Afghan people have a hard road ahead of them. At this point, it’s hard to trust anyone.
The stories are too similar to my own and many I know, and I ache for what’s in store for their future. But I firmly place my hope in a God who sees all and weeps with us in the brokenness of our world.
What are we to do here as believers in the United States as we foresee the dangers to come for the Afghan people and for our Afghan brothers and sisters?
Pray and Then Some
If you see tweets and Facebook messages about praying and are compelled to pray, pray also that God would compel you to open your home to a refugee, to seek out ways to help refugees or advocate for one. It’s too easy as American Christians to care for those across the ocean because they are across the ocean. But what if they were in your backyard? What if they wore their abayas, their coverings, in your neighborhood? How would you respond? How would you see the imago Dei, the image of God, in their being?
Several Christian organizations, including the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), have called other believers to prayer and action. “What we are witnessing in Afghanistan right now is as shocking as it is heartbreaking. Regardless of how one feels about the policies that led us to this point, Christians are called to be a voice for the vulnerable,” says Daniel Patterson, acting president of the ERLC. “Clearly, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding, and both prayer and immediate action are urgently needed.”
Maybe I’m too biased or too passionate. Maybe the images of Vietnamese people in reeducation camps or killed for their religious beliefs or dying trying to escape, from stories of family, friends, and ministry leaders, still flash in the crevices of my mind. But the Holy Spirit pulls on my heart to speak up for those in Afghanistan right now. In the ’70s and ’80s, many of our churches opened our homes and pocketbooks to Vietnamese refugees. I’m praying we would continue to do the same for the people of Afghanistan now in their time of need.
Send Relief is partnering with resettlement agencies and church partners to respond to the Afghanistan crisis. Give today to bring help and healing to Afghan refugees.