You what? You have to go to war!? This is a dreaded fear in the heart of a woman at a time when war is ripe. War drags a son away from his mother’s tight clutches, leaving her terrified and feeling helpless.
War snatches a husband away from his wife, leaving her frightened and alone, anxious for his return.
Yes, our natural reaction is to tremble and shake at the thought of war and hope it won’t happen to us. Jesus shows us however, in Matthew 24:6-7a that war is inevitable and even necessary for the carrying out of God’s plan. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
Realizing this, how should we as Christians feel and respond toward the recent Gulf War? What was our Christian responsibility toward it? Did we have the right to be there? The Gulf War brought many of these questions to mind as we watched fellow Americans and loved ones go off to take part in the war.
My heart was anxious on the evening of Jan. 17 when radio and TV programming was interrupted to tell us that our nation had engaged itself in war. This was of special concern to me because my husband’s brother, Matt, was in the Army, and had recently been stationed in Saudi Arabia. Since he was trained to be a gunner on the Hum-vee, an anti-tank weapon, we knew he was in great danger. We found out later that his position had been changed at the last minute to be a semi-truck driver, transporting airplane and tank fuel into Kuwait and Iraq. We were thankful he was taken out of combat position, but we knew he was still in danger, carrying a loaded weapon with him at all times. There was nothing we could do for him, except pray, which we did often.
The promises of the Bible give us so much comfort when our loved ones are in areas of potential danger. Psalm 139:9 & 10 tells us, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.” I knew God was with Matt wherever he went. What a comfort for us to know that our God is everywhere present, and always in control! If we have loved ones in these awful circumstances, we know they are in His care.
While reading the news accounts and hearing the radio reports of the awful things done by Sadam Hussein, it was easy to take on a spirit of revenge. We shouldn’t go into war with a vengeful spirit. God tells us in Romans 12:19 “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Instead our attitude should be one of quiet trust in our sovereign God, and a willingness to defend and preserve the welfare of our country.
As citizens, we may be called on by our government to fight off an enemy who threatens the welfare of our country. We have the calling to obey our government which God has put over us, knowing that it is a tool in the hand of our Almighty God to accomplish His good pleasure. We must keep in mind, however, that ultimately, we serve not our country, or any other earthly institution, but that we serve our living God.
During the 43 days of war in the air and 100 hours of fighting on the ground, we watched in fascination as the war unfolded live on TV. For many of us who have never lived during a time of war, being able to see the weapons of mass destruction in action made us realize the seriousness of war. In amazement, we sat watching buildings being destroyed and lives being lost, all from the comforts of our own homes. All this made me realize how thankful we ought to be that God has given us a country where we enjoy relative peace and quiet.
Does war frighten you? “Be not terrified” Jesus tells us in Luke 21. Our first reaction to war is fear. Death and destruction seem so horrible to us, but we need not be terrified. Why? Because the Lord Jesus Christ in His infinite wisdom and love for His people, sovereignly controls every event. What a comfort for us to know that above the noise of war, we hear the approaching footsteps of the Lord.