To Qaraqosh

The town of Qaraqosh, Iraq was taken over by ISIS in August of 2014. The predominantly Christian town, full of approximately 50,000 Christians, was razed and burned to the ground. Men, women, and children were beheaded for loving Jesus. 

The town was recently taken back in the fall and winter of 2016. Those brothers and sisters who survived are now coming back, slowly but surely, to the town, and their resilience is amazing.

In honor of these brothers and sisters, as well as to share their story, I was led to create a poem. Enjoy.

(To Support those in places like Qaraqosh, please buy from/donate to Reload Love, a nonprofit that takes spent bullet casings and other materials from war to create jewelry that can be sold. All proceeds go to helping children who have been hurt by war. Thank you.)


Qaraqosh,

You were broken.
The crucifixes on your church buildings,
your pride and joy,
were torn down–
blasted down–

falling from the roof onto the chaos and wreckage beneath it.

It looked as if
you would never rise again.
It looked as if
you would never raise your hands again,
high
to the One who suffered, too.

Qaraqosh,
I think you knew
what was waiting on the other side of the door
when they came yelling into your homes.
They bursted through your doors
whether you let them in or not,
took everything you got
including your daughters.
Your sons were kidnapped,
your daughters beheaded.
That should not be written easily.

Because on that day,
you were persecuted for loving Him.
the One who suffered, too.
You knew He said it would be hard.
How could it all be?

Where was the One who
Pre-planned all of your days
on the day you fell?
Pray, tell.
It is not a quick nor easy answer to believe.
Qaraqosh,
Did you perceive
that He
was near to You?
Waiting to pick you back up
In all of your pieces?
The crucifixes fell
But He was not on them.
No,
He was, is, sitting on the right hand of the Father
Praying for you.

Qaraqosh,
My sister,

You are Loved.
I wish I could cup You in my hands
and hold you close to my heart.

You are already being held,
and He will not let you go.

Qaraqosh,

You are Conquerors.
Just as He rose from the grave 3 days later,
You are rising from the ashes 3 years later,
Daring to come back to the place where your lives were erased!
How brave!
It is the great mystery of Him in You
that has raised anything.

Qaraqosh,
You are at Home,
with Him.
You were broken;
You are Loved;
You are Conquerors.

Children of the day,
Many wounds are still left.
Let us not look past those.
But,
Dare I say we celebrate?
If not with streamers,
Then with smiles.

Because the gates of hell did not prevail.
“The power of God has torn the veil
And we know [Christ’s] Love will never fail,
We believe– you believe.”

I am excited for the victories to come.
Chosen ones,
The fight has just begun.

But He, He is the One who fights for You.
The One who suffered, more than You
ever have.
Rest in that.

Qaraqosh,
In Him,
You are Loved.
You are fought for.
You are Healing.
You are free.

May we all learn from You
That He, so Loving
and so true
is the One, True Living God of Qaraqosh–
and of us, too.

“But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.'”
(Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)