From Iraq to Syria, Afghanistan and now Ukraine... recent history leaves us in no doubt that our world is becoming a more dangerous place by the day. With civil wars in Africa, ethnic unrest in the Indian sub-continent, simmering tensions in the Middle East and the ever-present threat of urban terrorism, world leaders struggle to maintain peace and international harmony.
Yet there is an answer... one which brings hope to the despairing and reassurance to the perplexed... but only so long as we're willing to look for it in the right direction.
Of course international conflict is no new thing. It was even predicted by Christ Jesus...
'You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are
not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.'
Perhaps it's not surprising to see conflict break out in different parts of the world. Even in our own sophisticated society neighbour is often in dispute with neighbour... and many of us can't even live in harmony with those we profess to love! However, God's verdict is that the heart of this human problem is the problem of the human heart... and that includes you and me. After all, which of us hasn't harboured bitterness, antagonism or resentment towards someone at some point in our past?
'What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from
your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.'
Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons pose a very real threat these days, but Christ Jesus warns of an even greater peril facing each one of us... whether we're an aggressor or victim... or even if we've never become caught up in any form of conflict...
'Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.'
And against this, the ultimate consequence of our selfish nature, we'll need far greater 'protection' than that of the man-made variety! Thankfully this has been provided for us through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in our place on the Cross of Calvary...
'You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.'
Of course the 'benefits' of this are not forced upon us. We need to respond to such sacrificial love by turning away from all we know to be wrong and receiving the risen Christ Jesus into our lives to become our Saviour and Lord. After all...
'...how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?