There’s a little boy sleeping in the next room that has never had to face the choice of two life-threatening possibilities. Unlike little Aylan Kurdi.
I don’t have the answers to these problems, but I know that my heart hurts for these friends I haven’t met who feel like staying ‘home’ is not an option.
This world is dark, friends. This world can leave a soul empty and hopeless. “Humanity washed ashore” has been trending in Turkish: #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik. But what is humanity? We want to see Aylan as the picture of innocence and perfection, as the ideal of what this world should be. As an emblem of joy and happiness and freedom . . . but is that really humanity? Doesn’t humanity in essence define who we are as a people? Is it an ideal or a reality? Because ideally we wouldn’t have issues like the Refugee Crisis, or ISIS, or Planned Parenthood, or Ferguson, or Ashley Madison. Or cancer, or broken hearts, or school shootings, or suicide. But look at the headlines, isn’t it true that these types of stories dominate who we are as people? Why is that? Well, it’s because at our core we are sinners, we are destitute and incapable of living an idealistic life by anyone’s standards. Do people sometimes do some pretty awesome things? Yes, and I love it! I love when the image of the Creator peeks through the darkness and reminds that there is something better, something more meaningful, something more lasting than ourselves. But that is not the norm.
So, “Humanity washed ashore . . .” What does it mean? What does it represent? Aylan Kurdi’s photo that has gone viral the last few days is meant to show us the hopelessness we as humanity are facing right now. And it’s heavy, and it hurts. Because inwardly, we long for that ideal, we long for the perfect. We long for what we want desperately for humanity to mean. But here we are, in the midst of hopelessness, and is there anything to dampen the dark?
Yes. There is. A flicker of hope in a world of lost humanity. Because, 2,000 years ago, humanity hung on a tree (I Corinthians 15:1-4). He stepped down from the perfect and embraced us in our imperfection so that He could carry all of humanity on his shoulders and ransom it. He gave everything of His own volition so that we could live with hope of redemption and the knowledge that beyond this world of hopelessness there is a kingdom coming, and I can be a part of it.
In dark days like this, I hold onto the hope of a “kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28) when I know the true King will gather all “peoples, nations, tribes, and tongues” (Revelation 5:9) together to worship Him. There will be no dangerous crossings there, and no devastation to flee from. There will be no ‘refugee’ or ‘migrant’ for we will all find our refuge in Him as Father and Savior. There will be no cancer or farming of baby parts, there will be no racial slurs or unjust police brutality. There will be no cheating husbands, because the perfect, faithful Bridegroom will welcome His own.
And it compels me. Will we ever achieve the perfect here? No. But I can do my part to make sure that there are more glimpses of the King and His plan for a Kingdom. I can make sure that the part of the world I touch sees the hope that was won on the day that humanity hung on a tree. And while we wait for the Kingdom, we hug, we cry with, we pray for the ones stuck in the darkness. We hold out cups of water, and packages of diapers, and we teach them English, and buy them juice and wafers.
And we let the emptiness push us towards the only thing that can fill it, we let it drive us to the cross.