You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
The verse above came to mind when I read an article about a refugee father and son who recently resettled in Spain. An accompanying photo showing a smiling son walking with his dad made me feel for a brief moment that everything was going right in the world, that we were capable of surmounting hate and violence. I hoped his success would open the door for others.
The father is Syrian refugee Osama Abdul Mohsen and his son is called Zaid. He came to public attention after he was filmed being tripped up by Petra Laszlo, a camerawoman, as he fled police near the Hungarian border with Serbia in September 2015. He was carrying Zaid, then 7, in his arms at the time. The two fell sprawling on the ground. The incident went viral thanks to social media, resulting in Laszlo being fired and a Spanish sports academy offering Mohsen a home and help in finding a job when they heard he used to coach a first division team in Syria. One article even referred to the outcome as a fairy-tale ending. That this was a blessing certainly cannot be denied. However the story is not yet ended as Mohsen’s wife and two of his sons are still in Turkey.
I think Laszlo made a terrible mistake, perhaps provoked by fear, the same fear that causes people to lie, to discriminate, to reject others. Without a doubt, if the police were chasing people who were “unlawfully” in our land, the inclination of many of us would be to do something to hinder them from getting away. Just read the threads of commentary following stories on the Refugee crisis. The amount of hatred being spewed by human talking about other humans is gut-wrenching. Laszlo suffered grossly because she was caught on camera… and because she was “touchable”. But what about the many “untouchables” with influence at the level of governments and international organisations that are directly or indirectly causing pain and devastation to entire communities. Who is seeking to fire them?
Claims by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Mohsen was a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front which committed crimes on civilians, seem to be dark plots which threaten to keep this family trapped in a past of bloodshed and remind us of the tragedy of mankind void of God. The scriptures shows us what is at the root. It is not politics, not religion, not oil, (though these are arguably all factors). The root is man without God, the root is sin. Without God it is impossible for us to truly love one another. And if we cannot love one another, then we must dare not say we know God. 1 John 4:7,8
Prayer: Father we pray for scattered, hurting Syrian families who are in need of the very basic things many of us take for granted. Mankind’s unwillingness to know You and to walk in love, has caused much pain. The nations may not have the answers, but You do. May Your hand of love reach these families. May they find spiritual, material and emotional refuge under Your wings.