What’s happening in Afghanistan is one of the scariest news stories I have read. It is also one of the saddest. After twenty years of fighting, some feel like the country is right back where it was when the battle began. Many are attempting to flee. I don’t blame those who want to leave the war-torn nation, but I have a heart for those who choose to stay.
In many ways, choosing to stay is harder. It sounds easier than uprooting your entire existence, and moving to a strange land with foreign customs, and a different language. But that’s not always the case. Many who stay are choosing to do battle every day. They are fighting for a better way of life, for themselves and future generations.
Besides those that choose to stay, there are others who feel like they have no choice. They do not have the means, nor the motivation, to flee. They are battle weary, and they are just trying to survive.
This doesn’t just happen in war-torn nations. It happens in families, in businesses, and even in our churches. There is always a contingent that jumps ship at the first sign of trouble. These folks are often the most prescient. They can see trouble coming from afar. Those who stay would be wise to heed their counsel. There are others who will hang in there until the the transition is complete. They want to ensure the continuity of the organization. But their hearts are no longer in the fight. Those people have a sense of tradition. They care about the history and legacy of a thing. Those people bring great value to an organization.
But the ones who stay either by choice or by lack of choice are a special breed. They often have a combination of all the characteristics. They can see trouble coming because they’ve seen it before. They know the warning signs. They have a deep sense of history and family ties, not just to the physical place, but to the spirit of the place. And finally, they have a deep desire to see the thing become better. They see possibility where others might see problems. The ones who stay are a gift, and we should honor them as such.
Today, I am praying for the ones who are leaving because their survival is dependent on it. I am praying for those who are leaving simply because they want to and because they can. But I have a special place in my heart for those who are staying. May the God of all comfort be with you in this tumultuous time. May God’s peace wash over your hearts, and may God’s wisdom and protection be with you.