When I was in college in the 1960’s, the Vietnam war raged out of control. 58,220 American men died in the war, and many hundreds of thousands more Vietnamese died. I lost several friends. Many families lost their fathers and sons in the war.
Since that time the United States has fought two Gulf wars and a protracted war in Afghanistan. None of these conflicts compare to the Syrian war in terms of lives lost and devastation caused to the people and the whole nation.
27 torture centers have been identified in Syria. Most if not all the detainees endure torture, rape, electrocution, sexual abuse, burnings and mock executions… including children.
It is estimated that 15.6% of the deaths in the Syrian conflict have been women and children.
3000 refugees are fleeing the country every day, with the numbers increasing weekly since January. More than half the refugees are children under the age of 11.
It is estimated that 85,000 people have died in the conflict, and 1.7 million refugees have fled the country.
Many followers of Jesus are involved in reaching out to the refugees, but we must do more. In an article from The Guardian newspaper (see the article on our website, www.floydandsally.com), the UN high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, says it is the worst humanitarian disaster the agency has ever dealt with, adding there has “not been an inch of progress toward a political solution”.
I am proud of followers of Jesus who are serving the refugees and working for peace. We are the hope for a hopeless situation. Hope happens as we show practical love and share the good news of Jesus. Only the gospel can bring answers to the war and the political crisis, and we are the bearers of the gospel.
I plan to visit the refugee camps in September, but until then I am doing everything I can to mobilize “prayer, giving and going”.
We must not be silent. The war in Syria is headed toward a regional war, and that will drag America, Britain and France into the war on one side, and Russia on the other. Russia has announced in the last few days it will send missiles to aid the Syrian government. Israel will be forced to respond.
A regional war will bring destabilization to the region and to the world, and will have a devastating effect on the global economy. Many more people will die.
I want to ask you to mount more prayer for Syria and for peace in the region. As you pray for Syria, remember Egypt as well and the other countries of the Middle East. Pray for righteous leaders, for “the hearts of kings to be like rivers in the hands of God”. Pray for freedom for the church and for the persecuted church to have courage. Please call the Syrian war to the attention of your church and prayer networks you are in touch with. Now is the time to pray more diligently before the situation gets even worse.
Remember Paul’s words to Timothy while both men ministered under the yoke of Roman oppression:
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly and peaceably go about our business…” 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Thank you for your prayers and for your gifts to help us help the Syrian refugees.
Floyd and Sally McClung