Hope in the War Zone

How Simple Items Show God’s Kindness

By Amanda DeWitt


When living in a war-torn country, hope can be hard to come by — especially if one lives in a place experiencing what the United Nations recently called, “the worst humanitarian crisis of the century.”

Here violent conflict rages. Three million refugees have fled. Over 85,000 children have died of malnutrition in just three years.

Where is hope under such conditions?

Field teams from Unto tell us that hope begins with basic items — bags of rice, warm blankets, water filters. It also begins with knowing that such simple items represent people who care about the plight of those suffering and are doing something to help.

Simple but Lifesaving

As the humanitarian crisis deepens, one group of people in particular struggles to access basic services and other support mechanisms because of discrimination. At times they are denied access to aid distribution channeled through local authorities. Help and hope are elusive.

When they do receive humanitarian aid, distributed through Unto partners, it impacts the lives of entire families. Salem and Hanif* are just two examples:

Salem is a teacher and a father of seven. His youngest child is only 4 years old. Salem has been working without a salary — he depends almost totally on humanitarian aid to provide for his family. He told Unto staff members:

“I have been working two years without receiving any salary. The main concern for me is to provide food for my kids.”

Salem and his neighbors were given meals, and his children were so happy. “When I arrived home my kids and their mother were rushing to inform me about the gift they received. All of them were holding the bags of rice very tight[ly],” he said.

Hanif is from this same marginalized group and is an Internally Displaced Person living with his large family of ten children and five orphaned grandchildren. Four years ago he lost his job as a street sweeper. He and his family were then displaced when escaping the war, but hunger and suffering still followed them.

Recently Hanif and his family were provided with Unto water filters, tarps, and meals. According to Hanif these gifts “represent lifesaving items to us, as it will keep us healthy and sustained for a long time. Thank you very much for your support.”

Ensuring that lifesaving supplies reach people who need them most not only relieves their physical suffering but also creates opportunities for them to hear about the eternal hope of Jesus.

For Salem and Hanif, the kindness of Jesus is expressed through meals that feed their children, tarps that keep their family warm, and water filters that protect them from deadly diseases. These simple items also point them to the real and lasting hope that never fades.

Repairers and Restorers

Across the Bible’s pages you see a common ethic: grateful people give. God’s people — whether rich or poor — should be the most generous on the planet.

Take a look at Isaiah 58:10 – 12:

… if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

God takes no pleasure in feigned religion that seeks to force His hand. He longs for people to serve Him, not for what they can get, but because they have genuine, devoted hearts.

When we approach God with a humble posture — eager to know and walk with Him — we often find that He shows up in extraordinary ways. We become like people who were once “sun-scorched,” but are now amply watered. And we cannot help but share what we have received.

We may never have all the money, time, or possessions we dream about. But we all have something we can give. When we offer a few minutes of our time, a few items from our home, or a few dollars from our pocketbook, we share the kindness of Jesus with those who urgently need it. Just one simple gesture — like providing bags of rice for people living in a war-torn area — can reveal the eternal hope He offers.

As you think about all God has given you, consider ways to pass it on. How can you share hope with someone today?

*Names changed for security reasons

Published August 9, 2019


Amanda is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Gift for Leadership, Kindred Spirit, and Christianity Today publications. She holds a M.A. in Media and Communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.