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Brother Mark is a pseudonym of The Reverend Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, a clergyman, physician, writer and poet. His biography can be found at: www.robertjaggsfowler.com

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Where is God in This?

Encounter

As riot police moved in to stop migrants from entering the Channel Tunnel at Calais, a young Eritrean man said “God has seen me through the Sahara; he will not abandon me now”.

Where is God in this?

Clearly, the Eritrean understood God to have accompanied him thus far, and his faith was well supported in Scripture, for Psalm 107:4-8 says:

Some wondered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;
Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love.

However, the activity of the riot police may have indicated that the man’s faith at this last stage was misplaced; and I was certainly left wondering what the Christian response should be in England when we pray to the same God who saw that man safely through the desert.

Nonetheless, within one week, in the UK:

 - ½ million people signed a petition requiring the UK government to ‘Accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK’ (when only 100,000 needed for a parliamentary debate); and c.f. only 71,000 signed a petition against more activity.

- the Government expanded the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme from 1,000 people per year to 20,000 within this parliament.

- the Government pledged a further £100 million to the £900million in humanitarian aid

- the British public donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to charities aiding the migrants

- The Scottish government pledged £1m.

- hundreds of people gathered at a ‘refugees welcome’ demonstration in Oxford.

- the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke out quoting Leviticus 19:34, saying we must…

Break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves.

All of which suggested to me that the Holy Spirit was certainly at work and was indeed providing a Christian response to the crisis.

Hence, the answer to the question as to where is God in this? Is that I would suggest God is at work through us in providing aid to that man and his country-folk, in keeping with St Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where in chapter 2:13, he writes…

            For it is God who is at work in you…

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