They say war is hell.
There’s never been a war on American soil in my lifetime, but much of the rest of the world has not been so lucky.
Somalia. Israel/Palestine. Guatemala.The Congo. Since 2011, an estimated 470,000 people have died in Syria alone.
My college roommate did two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. After graduation I went to school in Chicago and she went overseas to serve our country and face camel spiders (yes, those are a real thing but trust me, DO NOT click on this camel spider link unless you don’t mind never sleeping again…), language barriers, and bullets.
For the first time, war hit home for me. I developed the macabre morning ritual of scanning CNN’s war casualties report for her name even as I prayed that God would protect her.
She made it home. Not everyone does. She returned to a homeland free from war on its own soil. Not everyone does.
If war is hell, there is an awful lot of that kind of hell here on the earth. I’m sure many of you, dear readers, have family members and friends touched by war or have yourself suffered its horrific aftermath.
Suddenly “peace on earth” sounds less like a cheery Christmas carol and more like a pipe dream.
What is God so busy doing that he can’t come and put a stop to all this bloodshed and chaos?
Isaiah has some strong words about our patient God. A God who is not absent and will not abandon us, whether in peacetime or in war.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
When Jesus reigns, all things will be made new. The supplies we now use for war will be useless because war will be no more.
Later Micah prophecies something similar:
He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…
When Jesus returns, bullets and grenades, tanks and fighter jets will be as obsolete as rotary phones. We’ll have to think of something new to do with all that iron and steel–like melt them down into farming implements.
But it isn’t just the warriors who can look forward to peace. The civilians can, too. Victims of unjust wars, children and collateral damage, those whose clothes are stained with blood–they can look to changing into clean garments in an world marked not by violence but by peace.
The kingdom is coming. And when we follow God in the way of peace, a bit of that kingdom is already here.
Pray for peace today. Work for peace always.
Hold on to God’s promise that one day war will be no more.
How can you pray for peace today?