As a young lad still living at home in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis, I cannot recall ever having a discussion about the theology of war, the rightness of war, or how to view war as a young person. Now, as a man, a husband, and a father, it’s fascinating to me how events of recent days have forced me to evaluate a biblical perspective on war.
I believe it is important for us to understand that God placed government and our governing authorities with a purpose to protect the people and punish evildoers. When a military operation like a terrorist group, or a nation that is representing evil strikes out, we must fight to stop the evil.
I agree with the “Just War Theory,” a document that has been in existence for 1600 years. It states that a war must have just cause to defend or protect and that those involved in war must have just intent, seeking peace for all men. It is a last resort, but it is obvious that this enemy wants no diplomatic end to this.
So, how does a nation and a people face difficult moments and days like we’re facing now? Over and over again in the Scriptures, we find God reminding us to trust in Him and to remember that man has no power over us. Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I’m afraid, I will put my trust in thee. In God whose word I praise. In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” What we need to do is fear God. When we stand in reverential awe of God and yield to him, we realize that in Him we can take refuge and find hope and encouragement in the midst of these days.
But there are actions that we can take in the midst of such a crisis. The most important thing we can do is pray. Pray for our president, that God will give him wisdom. Pray for victory, for safety for our young men and women, and that God would use these days to create a spiritual awakening and a revival.
As Barbara and I have watched the news reports coming in from Kuwait and other locations, we’ve noticed that every chapel service is full — standing room only. Perhaps God is getting the “spiritual attention” of our nation through the young men and women who are contemplating the possibility of death. They are listening. Are we?
1 Timothy 2 says, “First of all then, I urge that in treaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men — for kings and all who are in authority in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” This is a great opportunity for fathers and mothers to give spiritual leadership to their sons and daughters by encouraging the family to gather around right now and pray.
Second, we need to discuss war with our children. Parents need to answer questions, “When is war right?” or “When is it appropriate?” We must teach our children God’s purposes for government authority and the reasons for war. This can help your children have a good clear response to those around them who have questions or who question any war.
Third, we must be ready to personally share the Gospel and be ready to share our faith with those who have spiritual needs. With war comes a fresh, spiritual receptivity that we need to seize, and I want to encourage every believer and the church as a whole to be ready to tell others how people can come to know Christ.
For the most part, I believe we missed that opportunity after September 11. This time we need to be ready to speak to men and women about their eternal destiny and about their souls.
I believe the Scripture teaches that one of the purposes of peace in a nation is so that men and women can proclaim the gospel — that there’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and there is salvation in none other. Now is the time for you to reach out to a neighbor, not only by praying for them but also by reaching out and giving them hope.
Above all, let me remind you as a believer to be mindful that these wars that we experience here are but a prelude to a war that will some day put an end to time as we know it and usher in eternity. Until that day, no matter what’s going on in the world, it is only in Christ that we can continually walk in peace. May God give you the wisdom to know how to live in these days.
Pray for our President and our leaders.
Taken from familylife.com by Dennis Rainey. Copyright © 2001 FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Used by permission.