I stood at the border crossing amid the column of fearful people waiting to escape before violence, torture, rape of death overtook them. Their hearts were crying out, “All that I feared is coming upon me!” The numb urgency screamed silently in the man’s heart as he did what little he could to comfort his wife and his baby son. All his dreams of marriage and fatherhood were lying shattered at his feet. All they had saved for, all they had rejoiced over and danced about at their wedding, was gone – stolen, or burned in the shell of what two days ago had been their home.
I moved close to whisper. “My daughter, your pain is my pain. I feel all you feel. My emotions are keen, undulled by sin, hatred and fear. Let me be your shield, your hiding place. I am no stranger to your situation. My own kin have been where you are now. The mother of my son fled with him to Egypt because there was a contract on his life. All he had done was to be born, a passive threat to a selfish puppet ruler clinging to petty power for all he was worth. Daughter, let me be your hiding place, your strong tower, your burden bearer.”
Her tears, pain and hatred drowned out my whispers, but still I will stand with her even though she is blind and deaf to me. There is time yet for her to cry out for sight and hearing; such a cry, like that of another homeless mother, Hagar, that I will not refuse.
I turn to her husband. “My son, do not call this land god-forsaken, for I have never forsaken any land nor any people. I have chosen to be unseen except through those who love me. My enemy and yours, whose work all this is, does all he can to stay in the limelight. All his works are visible.”
“I hear your angry cry for revenge and for justice. These two do not lie well together, for their offspring is the lynch mob and the knife in the back. Cry out, instead, for me. You want justice now and I understand, my justice is slower to fall because I want men to repent. I want every opportunity to forgive even the most brutal of your enemies.”
“My eternal Son and I already paid the price to the last penny to have the right to forgive. But there is a day of vengeance that I will. Your heart would rest more easily if you surrendered your lust for revenge to me, and let me deal with your enemies in my own way. I may yet reconcile you both.”
“I hear your anxious fears that cause your knees to knock and your bowels to grow weak. How will you care for your wife? How will you feed your son when all the little you had is gone, no house, no home, no work, no meagre savings? I tell you, my baby son was taken on a long desert road from Bethlehem to Egypt because men sought his life. My servant Joseph, his foster-father, feared as you do now. But he traveled at my command and I cared for them all the way. I kept them safe and secure in a foreign land. I am no stranger to the flight for refuge. I traveled every step with my son to watch over him. What father would not?”
“Let me be to you all that I was to them. Let me be your provider and your shelter from the noonday sun and the chilling moonlight frost. Son, I have not hidden my face from you, nor am I silent.”
But for the present he does not hear me. His loud heartbeat drumming with bitterness, with pain, with grief, with fantasies of the forlorn hope of revenge, with gnawing fear, with mounting hopelessness as he sees the column of fellow countrymen stretch ahead and lengthen behind.
I stood and spoke to each one of them, longing to cradle them in my arms – and some I will in the days ahead. I will not leave them or forsake them. I will share all their pain waiting for a chance to bear it all if they should choose. I, the singing, laughing, dancing Lord weep with them, each one. What father would not?
I have appointed my own children beyond the border crossing to do all they can to care and show my love and compassion – and they are doing it well. My heart leaps with pride and I cry to them, “Well done! Well done! You bear your father’s likeness well. Some will see it, some will turn.”
More are yet to flee – in Kosovo, in Sudan, in the forgotten places. Forgotten by the novelty-seeking media, forgotten by a world of people occupied with the things of the moment, but not forgotten by me, the living, loving Lord.