As I write this, there is a caravan of thousands marching toward the US border from the south. Depending on who you believe, the number of people heading our direction totals anywhere from 3000 to 7000—in any case, no small aggregate of humanity.
Their stated goal, if I understand correctly, is to seek asylum in the good, old US of A. Everyone, of course, is all up in arms about the whole deal. People on the left are excited about the turmoil this influx will undoubtedly have on the upcoming elections. People on the right are just as excited that the caravan will have a chilling effect on anyone who is suspicious of people breaking into their country, thus causing them to vote for conservative candidates.
I’m not sure what kind of effect any of this will actually have on our elections, but I’d like to put that aside for a moment. I’d like to focus in on the horde traveling northward. As much publicity as they’re receiving, their story is, most likely, largely untold.
We don’t know who they are. The only thing we seem to know for sure is that it is a concerted effort organized and spearheaded by a former Honduran legislator named Bartolo Fuentes. He, himself, was snatched up and detained by Guatemalan authorities as the throng attempted to pass through that country.
The remaining nameless people in the march to the border will likely diminish for reasons most of us will never consider. Traveling through Central America is fraught with dangers. One journalist reports that “Migrants are frequently robbed, sexually assaulted, and go for long stretches without eating. Some fall prey to human trafficking organizations. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to these crimes.”They might feel like there’s safety in numbers, but unbeknownst to them, some of their traveling companions might be their worst enemies. Suffice it to say,they’re risking a lot.
The worst part just might be that they’re unwitting pawns in a scheme to make a political statement for someone else. They’ve undoubtedly been lured by a promise of freedom and prosperity. For some, it may well end in tragedy.
A Guy Named Moses
A few thousand years ago, there was this guy named Moses who attempted to pull off a similar caravan. He, too, was traveling northward. Before he got to his Promised Land, he was snatched up as well (not by the Guatemalans, but by God Himself). This occurred after wandering around in the wilderness north of Egypt for forty years. His followers became angry with Moses, and the Lord became angry with the followers. They finally made it, but they lost an entire generation in the process.
Maybe that’s what these modern-day Israelites are attempting to do—deposit future generations into their promised land. Like the Israelites of old, they are causing more than a little anger and angst. The big difference, here, is that we probably won’t have to wait forty years to witness the results of their journey.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]