Perhaps nothing in the world embodies evil in it today the way ISIS does. The savage beheadings…the abduction and sexual violence against women and girls…ruthless torture of opponents…ISIS is so repulsive to the outsider we cannot fathom why anyone would choose to live this way. Why would anyone choose ISIS?
On the ground, you can see why.
After the recent fall of Ramadi, about 60 miles west of Baghdad, thousands upon thousands of people fled the city to escape ISIS. Their flight to safety, though, stopped. Baghdad, fearing ISIS suicide bombers would be among the refugees, cut off access to to the city. Suddenly, thousands found themselves stranded in the desert, caught between a city they did not want to be in and a city that did not want them. Not allowed into Baghdad and not wanting to live under ISIS, they now live in the desert – caught in the frontline with no place to go.
Think a moment. If you were here, what would you do? People look at the pictures of displaced persons and think they always lived this way. No, these were parents and leaders, business owners and professionals, religious leaders and children…many, many kids who found their city overrun by something they did not want.
Yet, they have a choice. Do they pray Baghdad lets them in? Do they go back and live under ISIS and hope? When you find yourself in the desert, which way do you go?
Wilderness is a part of the Christian tradition for a reason. Both Israel and Jesus endured in the wilderness, Israel for 40 years and Jesus for 40 days. In the wilderness you have to rely on God – a critical lesson – but it also creates a calling afterwards that requires Christians to pay attention to those caught there in later times. Many Bible passages begin with the phrase, Remember when you were in the wilderness….for the simple reason it is so easy to forget when you live in the Promised Land.
For ISIS to be stopped, Christians are going to have to step up. Bombs do not destroy evil, love does, and in order to stop the evil that is the foundation of ISIS the church will have to wage a campaign of love and peace. One group I know is doing this. They are bringing water and food, tents and medicine, into the wilderness. Their video is here for you to watch, but the shot you can take to defeat ISIS and evil, is here.
Pull the trigger.
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