This is somebodies son. Face down in the sea. He (and presumably his parents) were trying to flee awful circumstances, that we in the West could not even imagine. He like thousands and thousands of others, did not make it.

When I first saw these images, and there have been many in recent months, I wanted to look away. I scrolled past the photos. I scrolled past the faces. I scrolled to something that was more comfortable.

How is Jarryd Hayne going the NFL today?
How good was that funny video?
What’s on TV tonight?

But the sickness in my stomach does not go away.

How old is that boy? I have two kids, probably of a very similar age. I don’t know how I could possibly cope if one of them died. I don’t know how I would feel if it was my boy lying face down on the beach.

It is easy to quote slogans and talk tough. It is far harder to stop and look at these photographs and allow the gravity of the situation to sink in.

It is easy to quote slogans and talk tough. It is far harder to stop and look at these photographs and allow the gravity of the situation to sink in.

One of the most amazing things about God is that He is near. He doesn’t go away. Instead of looking away He enters into the situation. Earlier this year I heard of a group of men who over the course of a month were violently tortured in Northern Africa. When asked how they survived they said that Jesus was closer and more real than what they had ever experienced before. Jesus entered into their pain and suffering. He was right there with them and wherever He goes He brings peace, hope and love.

So what should we do when we see these disturbing images? Here are 5 Things to Look at When Confronted With Disturbing Images.

  1. Look at the Faces. As we think about these awful events and the complexities of Border Politics let us not look away from these awful images. Look at the faces of the ones who are suffering. Feel their pain. Be reminded that these are real people, like our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, who are being tortured, raped, and killed. Let us allow ourselves to enter into their pain. Allow yourself to be agitated. These situations are not right! Pray.
  2. Look at Yourself. As you look at these people and look at Jesus different emotions and thoughts will naturally surface. Look at them. Is there pride? Selfishness? Fear? Allow these photographs to bring up the ugly side of you, so you can allow Jesus to show you the full of love You. Then look at the things that make you you – there will be something inside of you that will enable you to make some sort of difference.
  3. Look at The Bible. The Bible is full of stories of slavery and liberation. It illustrates the heart of God for the poor and oppressed. It highlights methods, attitudes and nuggets wisdom for leaders and followers that if implemented, can and will make a difference! Look to see how nothing is impossible! Look to see how entire Nations can transform from poverty to prosperity!
  4. Look at Your Nation. What is your nation saying? What is the media saying? What story are the political powers trying to perpetuate? You have responsibility for your nation. Look at the positives in your nation and thank God. Pray and ask God for wisdom for your leaders, for compassion and generosity.
  5. Look at Jesus. It is easy to fall into despair. But let us not lose hope. Remember, Jesus is there in the midst of the pain. Where the Spirit of Jesus is there is freedom. He is there with His peace, love and hope. He is doing something. And He is calling us to join Him in the pain and suffering. Will you allow yourself to follow Him there?