His love meets us where we are.
“He was wearing white, and light was coming out from him on all sides, and his eyes were eyes of love.”
These words were almost as common as hearing “salam alaykim” throughout my time with refugees in Dallas.
For me, summing up everything that I learned while working with refugees comes down to this: God meets us where we are. He meets each individual in a way they will understand and breathes His love and hope into the deepest places of their souls.
I remember so clearly the time a woman from Iraq came into my office. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Callie, Jesus came to me in my dream last night.”
She then begins to recount the different times Jesus had come to her. One time was the day before she was finalizing her divorce with a horribly abusive man. He also came to her the night after she found out her son had been killed. He came to her the night before she fled Iraq with her two boys. He came to her the night before her family came to America. She goes on to say, “You know that I am not ‘religious’ anymore. There is just something about Jesus. He always comes to me when I need him the most.”
This is the power of God’s love.
Meet another woman, Rafaa (name changed to protect identity). She came to Dallas full of pain and depression, grieving the loss of her son who was murdered in front of her. She asked valid questions like, “If Jesus rose from the dead, why doesn’t he raise my son from the dead?” Then one night, Jesus showed up in her room, and she asked Him to His face. She said He didn’t say anything, but looked at her with “eyes of love,” and in that moment, she no longer needed to know the answer to her question. She knew with full certainty this man Jesus is only good and that love is His only intention.
He is the One who can silence the questions of a hurting Iraqi woman who is grieving the loss of her son with just one look into His eyes.
I have read about His love in Scripture, heard sermons, and have personally experienced His love in such profound and life changing ways, but there has been a new dimension to His love I didn’t know or see until I started working with refugees.
It’s not that He loves refugees more. It’s that I had a front row seat to seeing Him powerfully encounter people who do not yet call Jesus “Lord.” Many of these refugee neighbors of ours have gone through hell and back, and only His love is enough to open the doors of their hearts and completely heal their deepest places of pain.
And in the same way that God’s love has been meeting my clients, I have gotten to experience God’s love meeting me where I am as I work with refugees too.
When I began this job, I was acutely aware that I have nothing in me that could effectively love and care for refugees in a way that will bring any positive and lasting change in their lives. During a powerful encounter with God while worshipping one Sunday morning, He spoke to me clearly and told me that HIS power and love alone are completely enough to heal, redeem, draw and give life to each and every single heart. And the fullness of that love is dwelling within me.
That alone is what equips me and gives me the power to love and care for refugees. It doesn’t matter how much they’ve gone through; God can completely heal it. It doesn’t matter how different their culture is; God knows their culture and knows each individual fully. He – in me – will meet them where they are. It doesn’t matter how “closed” those who practice Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism are to the Gospel; He is able to open the eyes to each and every heart in each and every culture and religion.
And He is really doing it. Right now. In our neighborhood.
It has blown my mind how when I don’t have the words to say, every time, God speaks His words to me. He is faithful to tell me what to say in the moment. “The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” Isaiah 50:4
I have gotten to watch God’s words to me that Sunday morning come to life. He really is enough.
Dallas is one of the largest refugee resettlement locations in the country. These refugees are coming from countries that are some of the most closed nations in the world. As they reach our doorstep, we have full freedom and ability to share the hope that is found only in Jesus, watch Jesus encounter them in incredible ways, and then watch as they communicate with their families back home and share the Gospel with their loved ones. God is working in the lives of people in this city. And God is using refugees in Dallas to impact the entire world with His name. It’s such a fun thing to be part of.
His love is on display and is changing hearts, redeeming people and drawing people to life in Him. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and it has changed my life.