Sunday, May 15, 2011
Afghanistan war: study in hope
In early October this year, the war in Afghanistan will have surpassed the 10 year mark. Also expensive in terms of cost of American lives, over 1000 soldiers from our country have given their lives in the conflict. The financial cost is indeed very high by anyone's measure.
A recent television program was a grim reminder that all is not well in this desert country of tribes. The Taliban, once declared driven from the country, is still revered by the populace and present in the wings to quickly resume control if the allies withdraw within the forseeable future. The show, Frontline, aired on public television, took a decidedly unbiased position, and was given access to Taliban militia as well as top officials. Their responses, through the sobering words of interpreters, stated their continued resolve for their cause, their religion, and their attitude about life itself: "We want to die anyway, and we are glad to fight for our cause fearlessly."
From my perspective, it is difficult to understand this point of view or to have any hope whatsoever for this conflict and the safety of soldiers assigned to go to this war zone. That is, without the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit. In my opinion, the impoverished, zealous, seemingly evil Afghani's and Taliban fighters (decidedly evil) worship the same God that I do. Most likely, they are in the habit of praying several times a day, which is more often in comparison to my usual practice. My vision of hope for this situation is that the Holy Spirit will enlighten these men (predominantly, as the women do not appear to be politically or militarily active) and foster in them a cooperative spirit. They are killing my brothers and sisters who are fighting this war on terror. This killing is not expressly allowed or blessed in their Muslim religion and yes, prayer can remedy this situation.
I think we can really hope for a prayer answer first because prayer is powerful. People who pray regularly know this and see the results, as well as feel the effects from prayers of others (at least, speaking for myself). Secondly, as already stated above, Muslim teaching and discipline requires periodic times for prayer of their adherents. I believe that God will touch the hearts of the Afghani people through their prayer. And not only them, but may the hearts of so many throughout the world who are without faith in God see his presence and radiance. The soldiers of prayer have a great challenge if they wish to foster the work of God on earth. I have to get working now.
Dear Father in heaven, I pray that the villagers, elders and religious officials (Imams) will listen and receive your command to love all their brothers and sisters, whether they are their own people or those who are assigned to fight the war on terrorism (and hence foreigners). May I be blessed with a greater sensitivity to the needs and beliefs of my Muslim brethren. May the peaceful and loving message of Jesus Christ reach receptive ears in this ancient country, Afghanistan, and I pray the the work of Christian Missionaries be allowed there without bloodshed. In Christ's name I pray. Amen.