Syrian refugees, the capsizing boats of immigrants, and the U.S. immigration policy toward those fleeing their countries in search of better lives have been heated topics in recent news headlines.
While countries like Germany briefly opened their borders, the Canadian government has pledged up to $75 million (in US dollars) after it was criticized for its negligence and failure in the Syrian refugee crisis.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has stepped up its ongoing efforts to provide desperately needed supplies and support to Syrian refugees, including recent shipments of more than 12 tons of food, clothing, and other items to Serbia and the Greek island of Lesbos.
Seeking Safety in the Wrong Places?
Unfortunately, life in Western countries is often portrayed with much exaggeration to third-world countries. The West is depicted as the new Canaan dripping with milk and honey; however, no one ever says that someone needs to milk the cow!
The current immigration and refugee crisis is not something new. The problem of immigrants and refugees is as old as humans themselves. To see it as a new phenomenon is to ignore the entire history of human existence. The ongoing dilemma is not the first one nor will it be the last one, as a quick perusal of the news headlines around the world reveals.
If anything, these concerns are a reminder that the cause and the solution for these questions are beyond ourselves. The global north is not the solution. Revelation 13 is a wonderful reminder of the role that developed countries will play in infringing on people’s liberty. No longer will these countries that so many of us have embraced as new homes espouse the rule of law and freedom of conscience.
A. T. Jones, a defender of religious liberty, once gave this warning about the U.S.:
The day is coming when every Seventh-day Adventist in the United States would give everything that he has, and his life almost, if he could be outside of the United States. Let me say that again. I am speaking something now that interests every Seventh-day Adventist. The day is coming, and is not far off, when every Seventh-day Adventist will wish to the depths of his soul that he were out of the United States; and multitudes will condemn themselves, and will fret themselves under the condemnation, that they did not go out of the United States when they had the chance. You know that this sign is given us, “When our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time of the marvelous working of Satan is at hand, and that the end is near.” Have you seen anything of that kind? Has anybody here ever seen anything that suggested the repudiation by the United States of the principles of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government? Then you have seen some indications of the sign.” (General Conference Bulletin, April 16, 1901, p. 265)
The ongoing global mess is testament to the nature of the Great Controversy between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. As time passes, the conflict will grow sore and there will be even more pronounced crises. It will no longer be just third-world or war-torn countries’ problems, but also the global north will feel much of the Controversy. May these troubles help us keep our perspective focused on the Second Coming of Christ—a cause to end all causes.
Photo: Syrian refugees at the Budapest Keleti railway station, Sept. 4, 2015. By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.