Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 22, 2015

What I Learned From Iraqis

Reflections on Serving Iraqi Christians Displaced by ISIS

Almost a week has passed since I returned from Jordan where my team and I served Iraqi Christians displaced by ISIS. Every person we met chose to stand firm for Christ even though doing so cost them everything they owned. Over the past few days I have reflected on what I learned or was reminded of by the families I met. I offer these reflections here for your consideration.

1. Evil is real. | The displaced Iraqi Christians I met in Jordan all attested to the same thing — evil is real! They know this for a fact. Every family had a story to tell about the darkness that descended upon their neighborhoods when ISIS came near. The presence of evil changed everything.

2. God is sovereign. | Regardless of what evil may touch our lives, God is in control. And, regardless of appearances to the contrary, God is still in control. Never doubt that, even if you don’t understand why or how or when!

3. God’s ways are beyond ours. | God’s wisdom is infinite. He is moved by considerations far beyond the scope of our human comprehension. Whenever we do not understand why God is allowing us to be afflicted, we must trust Him fully and give Him the benefit of the doubt!

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4. Allow yourself to grieve. | The Bible never instructs us to be stoic when our lives are touched by afflictions. In every home we visited, the tears flowed freely. It’s ok to cry when our lives are turned upside down by circumstances beyond our control. God understands our tears.

5. Don’t allow your circumstances to obscure your view of God. | The clouds of affliction can easily obscure our view of God. When our lives are torn apart by things we do not understand, we should believe what we know about God rather than what we feel about God. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Rami and Bible
6. Look to God for wisdom.
| Human wisdom is never enough. However God’s wisdom, contained in His Word, can give us the hope and perspective we need in order to hang in, hang on, and come through.

7. God is able. | There is absolutely nothing that can touch our lives apart from God’s knowledge. God is never surprised or baffled by anything that troubles us. And, He knows exactly what to do with everything that touches our lives. God is able!

8. Forgive, even when it’s hard to do so. | Forgiveness is a distinctive of the Christian faith. Forgiving those who have harmed us releases us from the pain of the past and allows us to move toward a brighter future. Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is absolutely essential to our spiritual and emotional well-being.

9. We will understand it better by and by. | We will not always understand why God has allowed certain things to touch our lives. But, one day God will make it all clear. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part,” wrote Paul, “but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In the words of the old Gospel song, “We will understand it better by and by.”

10. Love and serve God, anyway. | In the book of Job, Satan said that people tend to serve God only because of the personal benefits they receive. “Remove those blessings,” said Satan, “and the fabric of people’s devotion will quickly unravel.” God is worthy of our love and devotion, even apart from His blessings to us.


  1. So beautifully written, so beautifully true. Thank you, Omar. What an incredible living witness the Iraqi Christians are for us all!

    • Thanks, Pam. We all learned so much from these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much.

  2. Thank you for bringing this truth so much closer to home for us. They are our brothers and sisters and they need our continued prayers. Lord bless them for encouraging our faith as they persevere and trust Him for their life and daily bread.

    • Thanks, Cathy. Appreciate you following our journey and praying for our Iraqi brothers and sisters.

  3. Thanks so much Omar for that beautiful and insightful reminder. God was, is, and is to be. No circumstances will change that! Thanks for your encouragement to “keep our eyes on Him!

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