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.”