Posted by: glorifyhim1 | May 28, 2012

Why War?

As I watched the National Memorial Day concert on PBS that honored the service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform and their families, I found myself near tears more than once. But this was particularly true as I watched the tribute offered on behalf of Brigette Cain for  her husband, Norman Cain. Norman Cain died in battle in Afghanistan at just 22 years of age. As the camera flashed on Brigette seated in the audience with her young family, including her son who was born just before Norman was deployed, my heart ached – not for this family alone, but for the countless others as well who face indescribable loss because of the ravages of war. And I ask myself why. Why war?

I know there are no simple answers to this question. Our libraries are filled with books, studies, and treatises on the study of war. It is a question that has confounded governments and peoples through the ages as nations have fought against nations to settle disputes, advance borders, and even to protect the innocent and defenseless from evil governments. Differing beliefs, political systems, and ideologies all complicate and contribute to the dilemma. But regardless of the differences among us, I believe that war essentially begins in the heart of man.

The writer of the epistle of James in the New Testament asked: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war” (James 4:1-2a). Both believers and non-believers alike experience this internal conflict. In the believer’s life, the Holy Spirit places a desire to seek God’s will and follow Him. Yet the believer also struggles with temptations common to every man such as pride and fleshly desires. While the non-believer does not have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he too struggles between his fleshly desires and God’s truth that he inherently knows, but that he has chosen to ignore (see Romans 1:18-19). So, ultimately, regardless of our differences of opinion or beliefs, it is how each of us handle this conflict within us that leads to either peace or war.

How I handle the conflict in my own heart may seem so inconsequential to stopping wars and innocent bloodshed, but it’s a beginning. It’s like the story of the little boy in Sunday School who was mad at his older brother. “I just want to beat him up!” he exclaimed. “Why not try to do something nice for him?” the teacher asked. “Then perhaps he’ll want to do something nice back.” In the same way, if I will constantly seek God’s will in how I interact with others and seek to say and do those things that honor Him, I am taking a step toward peace. In turn, perhaps the other person may want to return the favor or carry it forward to someone else.

But more than the simple things I may do, however, is where my heart is focused. Scripture tells us: “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). It is God who makes the difference! I am reminded of Moses’ challenge to the nation of Israel as they prepared to enter their promised land.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice; and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

This same choice is set before us today. We can choose to love God and obey Him or we can forsake Him and serve other gods. The choice is ours. When I choose to seek God with all my heart and obey His commandments, His Word assures me of His presence in my life. Among His many promises, God’s Word assures me that He will —

  •    Hear me when I seek Him – “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
  •    Be faithful to all His promises – “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
  •    Strengthen and help me – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
  •   Protect and defend me – “Because he has set his love upon Me (the Lord), therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:14-15).
  •    Guide me – “For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death” (Psalm 48:14).

Just think of the difference that could be made in our world if each of us truly sought God with all our hearts instead of pursuing our own desires, ways, and agendas.

One day there will be no more war. “He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:4). Oh, how I look forward to that day! Until then, however, there will be war. Nations will still fight against nations and brave men and women will still pay the ultimate sacrifice. But God is ready to stand strong on behalf of all those who trust in Him and to the nations that fear and honor Him.  I pray that I will be one of those who sincerely seeks God with all my heart. May all who read this join me and let us pray together for all nations to seek God, to walk in His ways, and to choose life.

“The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Psalm 34:11-12a).

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