The last few days have been unsettling. Recently, I had a conversation with a church member who expressed concern that the US drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani might become a full on military engagement. Iran’s retaliation against US bases in Baghdad certainly do not alleviate those concerns. It is not wrong to be concerned about the potential of another Middle East conflict.
Without question, we should pray. We should for our political leaders who need divine wisdom. We should also pray for the people in the crossfire. There are Iraqi and Iranian nationals who will be caught in the middle of a conflict they do not want. We should pray for the peoples of the region, Israel and other countries, who are regularly face terror threats and acts of violence that have been the precipitating reasons for the current situation. We should pray for our soldiers who are in the Middle East now and those who might be heading there. We should pray for believers in the region who may face even more persecution in a destabilizing situation.
You might be thinking, is that all we can do? Pray.
The reason we can pray is because international conflicts and world affairs do not fall outside the sovereignty of the living God.
During 2019, our Wednesday night Bible study focused on the book of Daniel. The book is full of turmoil, difficulty, and political intrigue. As an exile, Daniel lived under a pagan kingdom. Yet he remained faithful to God. The hero of the book of Daniel is God, who gave Daniel the grace to remain faithful, the ability to interpret dreams, the faith to pray, the willingness to speak truth to the most powerful men in the world
Daniel’s prophetic visions describe turmoil in Jerusalem, terrible tidings for the Jewish people under evil kings, uncertainties and quandaries (Dan. 7-12). But his visions also say something else. They tell us that God is in control.
That God described in predictive detail what would and did happen in the years following Daniel’s life is illuminating. That God foretold his rule and reign through the coming Ancient of Days is encouraging. That God declared to Daniel “And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days” (Dan. 12:13), is comforting.
The lesson in the book of Daniel–do not be afraid, God is in control. This is a fitting and timely reminder given the circumstances facing our world today.