More Thoughts on the Middle East: The Danger of Emptiness

“When the evil spirit goes out… it wanders through waterless places looking for rest and never finding it. Then it says, ‘I will go back to my house from which I came.’ When it arrives it finds it unoccupied… it goes and collects seven other spirits more evil than itself to keep it company, and they all go in and make themselves at home. The last state… is worse than the first…”

Matthew 12:43-45 (Phillips)

We should not be surprised by the looming war in the Middle East. When the last war ended, countries were left in tatters. Into the void comes a zealous, unequivocal ideology that promises solidity in place of quicksand – or so it must seem.

Our strongest weapon against this evil is not found in bombs or bullets. Our strongest weapon is Christ. Christ refused to bow under pressure, refused to return evil for evil. Jesus’ radical love prayed for those who made themselves His enemies. His radical love even took pity on them.

I cannot honestly say that I advocate pacifism, but I can honestly say that I believe Christ does – and how do we make sense of that?! I can also honestly say that Jesus tells me to pray for my enemies – and to love those who persecute others. So I will pray for the hearts and minds of the terrified victims, and I will also pray for the hearts and minds of the persecutors. We must never underestimate the power of prayer.

But how can I do anything?

The crisis in Iraq is beyond imagining, except that for millions of people it is all too real. The horror is reminiscent of the holocaust. But what’s it got to do with me, here in the UK? How can we do anything? Here, I humbly suggest, are two things you and I can do:

1. Give – organizations such as Open Doors and Tearfund are there on the ground, serving those whose need is immense.

2. Pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer. God gave prayer as a gift. With it we align our will to His. Pray always, in all circumstances.

 

Thank you.