Until the recent political turmoil began here in the UK, the international refugee crisis was at the heart of many a news bulletin. Cameras followed processions of weary migrants trekking to their imagined Promised Land; many finding their way blocked by unsympathetic governments; tragically some never made it as far as Europe. Whatever your opinion of immigration – there seems to be rights and wrongs on both sides – becoming a refugee takes courage. Despite the potential rewards, leaving the only life you’ve known, spurred on by the dangers of war or the deprivations of economic hardship, travelling thousands of miles on foot, or giving your life savings to a trafficker, is an incredible risk.
My own family line includes some who, hundreds of years ago, fled religious persecution to make a new life in Britain. Another branch of my family left Europe for Ireland, then moved to the United States before finally settling in England. For many of us today, life truly is a journey.
And to journey takes courage.
Despite the benefits of today’s 21st Century technology and the many spiritual paths on offer, life can be tough at times: hopes dashed, a relationship broken, redundancy or poor health perhaps. So where do we go for help, for courage and for comfort? At times like these we need a friend, a friend we can rely on; a fact which tells us straightaway that on our own, we don’t have all the answers.
Over two thousand years ago, an ancient songwriter in need of help looked up to the Middle Eastern hills and realised that there was someone who truly loved him and cared about his troubles:
“I look to the mountains;
where will my help come from?
My help will come from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let you fall;
your protector is always awake …
The Lord will guard you;
he is by your side to protect you …
The Lord will protect you from all danger;
he will keep you safe.
He will protect you as you come and go
now and forever.”
Psalm 121 (GNT)
This ancient song reminds us of our Creator’s constant care and protection, which provides the stability and security we need as we trust in Him. In fact as a baby, Jesus Himself was taken as a refugee to Egypt, and because He’s watching over us today, we too can face life’s journey with courage.