Finding the Hope of Passover in a Refugee Crisis


By Allie Riddle, BSN, RN

Resurrection Sunday comes during interesting circumstances for me this year. I have been tossed into the midst of a refugee crisis in northwestern Uganda. I am witnessing suffering like I have never known and, as a spectator, seeing the effects of bloodshed, trauma and death in the most real of ways.

I come home from work trying to forget what I have seen. The last, racking chest rise and fall of a malnourished child, who appears more like a skeleton than body. The tear-filled, red-rimmed eyes of a young boy watching the small corpse of a friend or sister being carried out of the mortuary. The tension and fear in a mother’s eyes as she carries her limp toddler into a poorly resourced health clinic. I want to forget what I have heard. The last breaths. The cries of pain. The sound of tears.

All throughout the day I see that the effects of sin in the world are real. And no longer in an abstract way, but in a tangible way. A way I now know through the senses. Touch, sight, sound, smell. My face is pressed against the glass and I can see the darkness. Feel the ache. Witness the suffering.

Enter Passover.

Here is the most symbolic meal that believers can share together. It represents our freedom. It marks the beginning of the road that Jesus walked to redeem this world unto Himself.

When we celebrate Passover, we commemorate and remember God’s heart for His children. There were no lengths too far to go. With Jesus’s last breath, the weight of this world rested on His broken body, and with His first breath at resurrection, was a promise that that weight would one day be vanquished forever and the world made new.

“Hope is the anchor I cling to”

Like the shroud that fell from His body as He stood, so will the sufferings of this world fall away. Hope for our broken world flickered back into existence. The darkness of curses, sin, and death was driven back by the flame of Christ’s eternal victory. We can be free!

Today we still feel the sin caused by a fallen world, but no longer without Hope. All things can and are being made new. Slowly, day by day. Suffering can no longer be felt without Hope throbbing alongside. Hope is the anchor I cling to, the light that will not extinguish, the promise I feel when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our current sufferings are not eternal, and the heart of God is to bring healing and justice to earth – now, through the work of His followers – but one day, a complete wholeness made possible through the return of our King Jesus. That is the day we work toward.

Oh, let that day be soon! Especially for the refugees of South Sudan.

– Allie Riddle, BSN, RN, is a MedSend nurse serving in East Africa.

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