Aching hearts

This week, when it seemed the situation in Afghanistan couldn’t get any worse, it did. Our hearts ache and our prayers go up.

I was a Cold War warrior, a member of a bomber crew, part of the nation’s nuclear deterrent. We were prepared to respond with overwhelming force in the event of a nuclear attack. This “balance of power” strategy kept the peace through many administrations for 40 years.

The strategy worked, in part, because the other side wanted to live as much as we did.

I was never in a shooting war, thank goodness.

I never had to do what our Soldiers and Marines are asked to do today: stand guard at checkpoints with a mass of humanity in front of you. You don’t know if the person coming toward you is a pregnant mother or a suicide bomber. If you choose wrong, you and your friends could be killed, you could start an international incident, or you could be put up on charges. 

Where do we find men and women of character willing to do such things?

I frequently pray that our leaders would be worthy of them.

Jesus was no stranger to situations like this. He often faced angry crowds who had picked up stones to stone him.

Where did Jesus get his character?

John 10:34 says that Jesus responded to an angry crowd by quoting scripture, a verse from Psalm 82. He was so steeped in scripture that even obscure (to us) passages came to mind in a crisis.

He was steeped in prayer that connected him to the heart and mind of the Father.

And in all of that he knew the divine plan that one day the crowd would get its way.

Prayer: Lord God Almighty, we pray for the men and women of our Armed Forces, and for the people of Afghanistan. Protect and save them. And we pray for ourselves. Through prayer and scripture, lead us deeper and deeper into your heart, so that when the crisis comes, we might be people of character. Amen.