It is 3:00 am and you are awakened from your sleep by the blare of a loudspeaker telling you that you have 24 hours to convert to Islam and pay a tax or be killed. Does this scenario sound farfetched or made up? It is not. This is exactly what is happening in areas of northern Iraq recently captured by the ISIS army and annexed by them into their new country.
Initially these people were told all would be fine and they would not be harmed or hurt. Then, suddenly and without warning, instead of peace and safety there was the ominous warning from the loudspeaker. So are the empty and deceitful promises of men who only know how to lie.
Almost without exception, the Christian community in city after city has been forced to immediately evacuate, leaving their possessions and businesses behind. Perhaps some will stay and die a martyr instead of running for their lives, but the vast majority of people will end up as refugees in locations that may or may not face the same ultimatums soon.
Many things going on in the world break my heart and/or make me extremely angry or apprehensive. The forcing out of Christians in northern Iraq is just one of those things (although a very big one).
Israel is at this moment launching an all out war on Gaza in what will probably be yet another failed attempt to wipe out the people who insist on shooting rockets into their country. Just as the United States could never wipe out the Viet Cong in Viet Nam in the 1960's due to their ability to wage guerrilla war, so I doubt if Israel can militarily eliminate terrorist cells intent never being seen.
Of course there is the matter of the civilian airliner with nearly 300 people on board which was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Friday. Interestingly there were about 100 of the top scientists in the world who are studying AIDS on that flight as they were heading to a conference in Australia. Situations such as this make one wonder if there was more to this incident than just a case of mistaken identity on the part of some militants.
Radical and militant Islamic jihadists, radical terrorists intent on the destruction of Israel and radical rogue political militants who do not abide by the rules of warfare all have made a statement the past few days. I am the first to admit that it is extremely difficult to abide by the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when He taught us to love our enemies, pray for those who despitefully use us and to turn the other cheek.
Jesus Christ was the ultimate revolutionary in that what He taught totally went against what everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, Roman or Greek thought and practiced. All I can do is pray that in my own life, I can rise above the human tendency to react to the various things going on in the world today and remain steadfast in my refusal to fight fire with fire or pull out my sword and lop off the ear of someone hurting God's people.
It is difficult at times to believe that just prayer can help in these situations and to keep in perspective the fact that what takes place on this earth is temporary and will soon be forgotten in light of the eternal scheme of things. This is why we must keep our eyes securely upon Jesus and not focused on the evil, injustice, hatred and ugliness of this world.
I can't remember the first time I experienced a bomb attack for the simple reason that living where I do I grew up thinking bombs were normal. I remember sitting in my home as a child and the entire house shook, such was the intensity of the bomb that blew up the centre of our village.
Coming from a family of security forces I recall the ritual each morning of checking under our car for mercury tilt switch bombs. My brother is deaf in one ear after refusing to leave an unexploded bomb until every civilian was clear. He ran as the bomb exploded.
I think of Omagh where the terrorists told the police that the bomb was at one end of the town. They lied. The bomb was at the other end, the end where the people were evacuated to. 31 died because of mans lies.
There is no answer to the blood lust of men, no answer but Jesus. But "just prayer" is a greater weapon than the weapon of the bombers. I do believe though that those who plot evil have a greater belief in their weapon than we have in ours.
As for the war with Israel I struggle with the belief that the end justifies the means. So I pray because your last paragraph truly says it all.