MK: Originally from Pittsburgh, Sarah teaches English in Iraq through an NGO. Her Christian faith compels her to cross boundaries and serve the people of Northern Iraq. When the presidential travel ban prompted international outcries and anger against Americans abroad, Sarah wrote a particularly insightful post. I have republished it here with her permission. These three short posts offer a window into her world.
Christians, why do we idolize the illusion of safety for our temporal time on earth over the potential guarantee of eternal security for another person? Have we drifted so far from the legacy of Jim Elliot?
January 30, 2017:
Today, driving home from school, The World's Greatest Taxi Driver* got quiet for a minute and said, “Sarah. Please be careful today and this week. Things are very strange right now with America. If anything happens, I will call you and come get you and Susanna and take you to my village.” What he didn’t say, but what I know to be true, is that he would also drive us 5 hours to the Turkish border at great personal risk to himself, to get us out of the country. And if it came down to it, I know that he would actually die for us. He is a Muslim from Iraq. The last few days have communicated to the community that I love and have made a home in that they, as individuals and collectively, are inherently suspect because of who they inherently are. When our fears over possible outcomes that are never going to be 100% preventable rule our hearts and minds, not only do we not win, but everyone loses. Americans, Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis, Yemenis, Iranians, Sudanese, Libyans, and the whole wide world. The whole world loses when we turn whole people groups into the boogeyman. Christians, do we really have such a poverty of trust in our Lord? Iraqis are not all angels. But nor are they all devils. They are varied and a very complicated collection of individuals of numerous tribes, ethnicities and religions bound together by geography (and a fierce love of chicken and rice). And each individual is just as fallen as I am, and just as loved by God. So, please, when you are obsessed with your own illusion of keeping your country safe from Muslims, know that there is a Muslim who has told these Christians that he would keep us safe. And he is not the only one.
(*Sarah introduced the “World’s Greatest Taxi Driver” in an earlier post.)
April 6, 2017:
For the last few years the mud swallows have returned to this nest outside our door each spring. Because it is messy and the birds are so loud, the nest was removed last week, just as the birds came back. But we were so sad about it. It seemed like one more small loss in a part of the world where there are so many large losses. A few days later, the swallows began to rebuild it in earnest. And an unknown neighbor left a note asking people to not destroy the nest. There are so many horrible and sad things that are happening in the world right now. And birds rebuilding nests do not give refugees homes or bring children dead in chemical attacks back from the grave. But there is a promise I am clinging to that there are no more tears at the end of all things. And that the Lord Christ is reigning over all. And sometimes I am reminded of that in birds and mud and notes from neighbors. Come, Lord Jesus.
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Matt Koerber is the senior pastor at City Reformed Presbyterian church. This is his personal blog that he also asks guest writers to participate on.