Monday, July 31, 2006

How will it all end?

You might be thinking I'm talking about Barie's pregnancy :) but I'm actually writing about the conflict in the Middle East. I understand the conflict over there as well as someone reading the newspaper over here can, but I am at a loss for seeing how a real solution will materialize. I mean can't we understand the pain of each side...?

Israel. How would we as Americans react if we lived with enemies all around us who prayed every day for our demise? I don't think we can underestimate what the American military would do if a group of Canadian terrorists suddenly crossed the northern border and attacked a northern American city, killed several American soldiers, and kidnapped several more. If the Canadian government didn't help us in pursuing those terrorists immediately, I'm not sure Canada would still exist a few days later. The uproar from the American public would be unbelievable. Why? Because, unlike Israel, we live in peace and prosperity every day of the year. I have yet to fear my weekly trip to the grocery store or pizza joint or coffee shop. The American response to that kind of hatred and fear would be overwhelming. So, I understand Israel's concern - how can they live another day with terrorists groups all around who wish their demise & have support from other nations in the region?

Lebanon. The American church has to understand that according to some estimates around 40% of the Lebanese population is Christian. Not that that number makes us care about civilian casualties any more, but it simply reminds us that when the church sits by and supports Israel's actions at all costs, many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering. Yesterday, in one of Israel's attacks attempting to drive out the Hezbollah gorillas, an errant bomb killed 57 civilians, most of them children trying to stay away from the attacks. Read about the details HERE. How can we ignore the fact that many bystanders and children are suffering and dying in what seems to be a never ending struggle? Your heart has to break for the people of Lebanon who just spent most of the past 15 years rebuilding much of their infrastructure only to see it blown apart again by Israeli warplanes. You have to weep for those suffering from endless war and poverty in their country.

So back to my original question...how will it all end? As a Christian, I am called by God to be engaged in the world and to love people, and so I pray for peace. I believe I must call my government to work hard for justice around the world. However, my hope is not in any man or woman or nation-state. I see heads of state running here and there, making speeches, going through days and weeks of diplomacy hoping to save lives. But they are not the ultimate answer. Only Jesus Christ can change the wicked hearts of men. And only Jesus' reign on the earth will bring complete peace and justice to the world. And so, until that day when He returns to right all wrongs and set up His kingdom on the earth, I say with Him, blessed are the peacemakers, and I proclaim that my hope is only in the Living God (see Psalm 42).

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