You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you aren’t troubled, for all this must happen, but the end is not yet. (Matthew 24:6, WEB)
As the 29th Olympiad got underway in Beijing last week, Russian troops, tanks, and armored personnel poured across the Georgian border and immediately took control over two disputed regions in that country. The day was supposed to mark world unity, but for people living in one area of the globe, it was anything but that — Georgian forces were immediately overwhelmed and hundreds, perhaps thousands of citizens lost their lives.
I read the above verse and wonder to myself, “How can I not be troubled?” A sovereign nation is attacked and innocent civilians are killed, wounded, or left homeless. Clearly, this is troubling news, especially for those who are embroiled in that conflict.
I don’t have to pull up my Greek lexicon to understand what Jesus meant when he used the word troubled. Common sense tells me that there is something else He wants us to know and it is this: no matter how gloomy things look here on earth, our Father above is in full control.
Why is this important?
Because if you are in the midst of the battle or observing what is happening, you can easily be distracted from seeing that God is working things out even in the darkest of moments. Moreover, when these events do take place it doesn’t mean that the end is at hand, rather these are the sort of things that will take place before His return.
Better than worrying about what is going on in the world we should consider doing the following:
Pray — Ask for God to intervene in the situation. Don’t tell God how to end the conflict, rather ask that He have His way with those caught up in it. Pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2) including Russian and Georgian leaders and others interested in resolving the conflict. The hearts of those who rule are in the hand of God; like a river He can change the course of events in His time.
Take Action — As God leads, your response to this type of conflict may include some sort of personal involvement. You may not be called to lead a team to go to Tbilisi with aid, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help out. Government aid is already pouring in, but organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, and others are also at work, seeking financial contributions from people like you.
Persist — No matter how bad this conflict turns out to be or if you’re caught up in your own storm, holding fast to what is good and living your life as a vine intertwined with our Savior will carry you through (John 15:5). We here in the west have yet to be thoroughly tested, but our time will come. Will you shrink in the heat of the battle or will you stand firmly upon the Rock? That Rock is Jesus.
The Summer Olympics are going forward without interruption, but we know that the global unity that some are seeking is only on the surface. Lying just beneath are other conflicts or threats of the same, events which need not shake our hearts but serve to remind us that God is in control and that His return nears.
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