Olu, our Nigerian friend, the refugee, changed his Whatsapp profile picture.
Take that, Justin Trudeau.
Olu recently started to ask for something. Have I heard about any jobs? Do I know of any work? Can we put the word out for him? Olu is hard-working, excellent in customer service, energetic, a go-getter, a quick learner… He doesn’t need to convince me, I’m sold. Except I have no leads, I have no contacts, I’m new to Toronto myself. I don’t even know where to direct him.
This is the part where my faith falters – where the world’s system of worry and stress leaks in – when someone else desperately needs work. As for me, I have trusted God and have seen him provide in miraculous ways – oh, the stories I can and do tell! I have come to rely on God’s provision for me… but for others, the fire of my faith seems to sputter out, even as I tell Olu I’ll pray for him.
Perhaps it’s because I’m surrounded by so many, throngs of people it seems, who need work. WORK is the number one word on the new immigrant’s lips.
My number one word is PROXIMITY.
I’m discovering how God brings us closer and closer to the things he cares about. Be guaranteed, dear believer, that if we follow him, he will place us in proximity to the problems, to the needs, and, blessedly, to where he’s already present and at work. He is teaching us to immerse ourselves in faith, and find out that the answer to the problem is so very near to it.
Last year, when our church prayed for the persecuted church, one of our Pakistani members prayed for believers in his country of origin. I felt his lament deeply. Little did I know at the time how close this issue was for him. His own daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren would have to flee the country after coming under attack from Islam extremists. There was no help to be found, no relief from the threats and violence.
A year later, they are still trying to make it to Canada. Although they fled their country, they remain in hiding, the little money they had, dwindling. I spoke with them over the phone this past weekend and while they have great stress, their faith is strong. They remain hopeful that God will provide a way even when it looks hopeless.
But where will they find relief? They need a community that would open their arms to them, to vouch for them, care for them, and bring them in.
And God says MOVE CLOSER.
So now we are working to bring this dear family to Canada. I have every confidence that we will be able to fill out the right forms, get them on the plane, even raise the money to help them settle in… but will they find jobs?
The refugee necessarily becomes dependent on the good faith of others, leaving everything – their family, their community, their livelihood – behind. He’s a lawyer, she’s a teacher. We can promise them shelter. We can promise them community. Can we promise them the means by which they can gain independence again? Can we promise them work?
The point at which my faith falters, it is activated. To ask, Lord, will you provide? Is to hear his one word, TRUST.
There is such relief and freedom to receive it. Our questions about work and proximity are put to rest when we simply believe that God is operating in benevolence toward those who trust him. Olu certainly believes it and it is as obvious as daylight that he and God are in cahoots.
Olu texts me – he’s had an interview today.
Will I pray with him that he will get a second interview? He’s supposed to hear back tonight.
In a word, YES.
Believing friends, will you pray with me for Olu and our refugee family in hiding?
May God direct our steps, give us wisdom, build our faith.
Work. Proximity. Trust.