Monday, May 21, 2007

Violence in Gaza

Joel Rosenberg posts at the Joshua Fund blog on the recent violence in and around the Gaza Strip:
Someone has posted an interesting question on my other blog: "With the constant fighting and turmoil in the Middle East, I am confused as to how I am to pray. How am I to deal with the frustration of this situation that seems to never change?"

It's a good question, especially right now. There are a number of ways to answer it, but here's one: Psalm 122:6 commands us to "pray for the people of Jerusalem." Yet in many other Scriptures, the Lord tells His people to go to war.

I believe as followers of Jesus Christ we must pray for peace and prepare for war.

Thus, I pray that the jihadists in Gaza are caught, arrested and imprisoned, or hunted down by the Palestinian or Israeli authorities and brought to justice. I also pray that these jihadists meet Jesus. I pray they find peace with God through faith in Christ's death and resurrection. And I pray they are spiritually transformed as so many other Muslims in the Middle East have been in recent years (see Chapter 14 of Epicenter, "Muslims Turn To Christ In Record Numbers").

At the same time, I realize that the Lord may answer my prayers for earthly peace with a "no." In His own sovereignty, He may allow violence to continue and even allow war to ensue. We know believers will be praying for peace in the lead up to the "War of Gog and Magog," but the answer will be no (until God's supernatural intervention is complete). We also know that believers will be praying for peace right up to the Battle of Armageddon, but again the answer will be "no" until after the Second Coming of Jesus.

Thus, as Christ's followers, while we pray for peace, we must also prepare for war. That's not a lack of faith. That's being a good stewardship of our time and resources as we recognize that the Lord is in control and ready ourselves to follow wherever He leads, in good times and bad.

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