That photo – you know the one……

I am sat here with my heart broken and my feelings torn around me.  I made the mistake (or perhaps it was no mistake) of looking at the picture that has been circulated of a little refugee boy lying face down on the beach after drowning when his dingy that was supposed to take him to safety capsized.  I look at that picture and the blurred out little shape and all I can see is my own son lying there, helpless and lifeless, and I am torn from top to bottom.

I know that all over the world, in every generation, atrocities like this have happened and we just have to cope and carry on.  We do our bit as best we can, whether that is sending money to help charities and other organisations fight on our behalf, whether it is sending our armies into battle against the evils that are behind this or whether it is praying to our Almighty God to intervene.  There is so much pain and suffering in the world that we cannot possibly help end it all.  But I guess this one smacked me right in the heart, as it hurt me as a mother.

What is the biggest choice you will have to make today in your motherly duties?  Is it whether to feed your kids beans on toast for tea or pasta?  Is it whether to tell them off for having their shoes on in the house or not?  Is it what time to try to get them to bed?

Well for one mother, she had to decide how likely it was for her and her family to survive if they stayed where they were or if they got in a tiny, inadequate boat and attempted to sail somewhere new and unknown.  Whether she could face letting her little boys see the horrifying realities of war, potentially be killed in the cross fire and be mentally scarred for life, or whether bundling them up on a tiny boat with the risk of death by drowning was worth the possibility of a safe and secure life somewhere else.

I honestly do not know what I would have done.  I cannot imagine the fear and the pain these people are going through or what decision I would have made in the circumstances.  I don’t even know why I am writing this post, as I feel helpless to do anything other than pray and petition my father in heaven.  

The bible has many instances of people in boats, with mixed outcomes (Paul and the shipwreck, Jesus calming the storm and walking on water, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale – to name just a few), and I don’t think that drawing parallels will help here.  God wants us to find our peace, strength and comfort in Him no matter what chaos is going on around us and even in the face of almost certain death (think about Daniel in the lions den!).  So my prayer will continue to be that this heartache and violence stops, but also that those trapped in the middle of it and facing impossible decisions will know the peace of God.  That whatever the outcome is for them, they will know they are safe with God – whether that be in a new land away from war, whether that be staying in their war-torn regions or whether that is heaven with their maker.


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