One of my recent homework assignments for my Christian counseling class was to provide a news article and write about how it applies to the world of counseling. As I completed the work, I felt compelled to share it.

I think it’s difficult for those of us living in the comfort, security, and luxury of life in the Western world to truly appreciate and understand what is happening in Syria. Even more so, we can’t begin to make sense of how a child raised in the midst of civil war must be interpreting what it means to be alive. For all their time on earth, war, displacement, and pain have made up their reality.

In this article from Catholic News Service, it’s apparent there is a need for individuals who are trained in counseling to hold the hands – both figuratively and literally – of the children affected by Syria’s five-year civil war. The article speaks to the erratic and sometimes aggressive behavior refugee children exhibit in camps. The after-effects of the war are as shattering emotionally as they are physically to the buildings these children once called home.

We see many groups and individuals leave their modern world behind to serve as Christian missionaries around the world, sharing the gospel of Jesus, working to make believers out of those who have been lost. This article, however, shows there is chasmic need for individuals to carry the cross of trauma counseling for these children.


Attending to the emotional and psychological need of these young refugees is as much a mission of good news as are the other works of lay people in the field evangelizing the name of Jesus Christ. I think we tend to neatly compartmentalize the role of Christian counselors to working with couples in marital distress or American kids dealing with issues that weigh them down (drugs, anger, sexuality, etc.) But as Christians, we’re called to reach out to those who require our help, and there seems to be such an infinite need for help on the part of war-torn kids who most likely do not have a concept of what it means to grow up happy or safe.

Being a Christian does not mean our lives our meant to be easy (John 16:33), but it does mean reaching out to those in need (1 John 3:17-18). For Christian counselors, this means setting aside our own comforts in order to provide some comfort to a little girl or boy who’s known only a lifetime of pain. It means to remind these children they are loved by God, and to be the personification of Psalm 34:18

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I think my points are best summarized by this video.

4 thoughts on “Mission Lacking

  1. With a master’s degree in counseling, I really appreciate what you have written! Secular and Christian counseling seem to get put in “boxes” which comfortably describe them. There is so much more both types of counseling can offer! How can one’s heart not be touched when you wrote about the need for something as simple as holding the hand and comforting a child. Think of the trauma of the children living in refugee camps trying to find a safe life. So many children, so much need! Thank you for reminding us and I pray your post will encourage aid to charitable donations.

    1. Thanks for the note, Rick, and my apologies for not replying sooner. I don’t know if I can ever be a counselor (qualified/certified), but I think we all can find a way to take time to be a physical and comforting presence for a child whose experience trauma and pain. Be it in our own back yard or across the oceans, we all have the ability to be empathetic and supportive.

  2. Everyone who tries to spread fear about the “250,000” Syrian refugees that Obama is letting in (in reality, and by law it will be no more than 10,000) should see that video and read this blog entry. Syrians are, first and foremost, children of God like all of us. Everyone of them. WWJD? He’d feed and shelter his brothers and sisters. So should we.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Jesus so easily saw past the politics and personal ambitions. Be it refugees from Syria or any other country experiencing conflict, we all should be willing to take in those in need to help them get their lives back on track, specifically when children are involved.

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