This morning I had another biweekly Persian lesson with my Teheran-born tutor—a normally bubbly elderly lady. Her native tongue is Persian—a language spoken in both Iran and Afghanistan. But as soon as her face popped up on Zoom, I could tell that something was amiss. There was a sadness to her eyes. I asked her, “What happened?” She replied in a very somber tone: “Now with the fall of Kabul, all the Afghans who worked alongside the German and other Western military and humanitarian workers are desperate to get out of the country. Their lives are in extreme danger because the Taliban will kill them for having supported the cause of freedom. Some of them desperately want to come to Germany. Your Persian language skills are now good enough that you will be able to communicate with them and offer them encouragement and support. Your work here is now more important than ever.”
Wow. You may recall from a recent post that I do not really know what her religious beliefs are, although I was recently able to give her a thumbnail sketch of Christianity (see my July 27 post). But here she was implying that my pastoral vocation of sharing the “peace which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7 ESV)—the forgiveness, comfort, and encouragement that only Jesus Christ gives—is precisely what these refugees need. These people are so desperate to get away from a yet to be established Taliban regime that they will even climb into the wheel wells of USAF cargo planes—literally hanging on with their fingernails—until they fall to their deaths hundreds of feet below. And yet—even more than a new homeland in the West and food and shelter—they need Jesus Christ. That was her point.
So, are you fretting about something today? Are the everyday details of life frustrating you? Well, for one thing, whatever might be bothering you today, compare your problems with those of the brave Afghan workers who helped us for the past twenty years and who are now fearing for their lives. And even more importantly, seek your comfort not in the (sometimes pleasant but still transient) things of the world, but only in Jesus Christ—the physical manifestation of the peace which surpasses all understanding.