Pain. Terror. Despair. Hopelessness.
These are just a few of the feelings the people of Afghanistan are experiencing right now. Women and young girls fear for their virtue and their lives. Christians fear for their freedom to publicly worship the one true God. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are vaporizing before their very eyes.
As Americans watched in horror as Afghanis clung to the military jet as if their very lives literally depended on it, feelings of anger and frustration were sure to arise.
What has become of us? What has become of this great country that comes to the aid of the terrorized? Our administration has sanctioned the abandonment of a country, leaving its people vulnerable and its terrorists weaponized.
We Americans are a proud people. As a worldwide superpower, we square our shoulders and take on our enemies with confidence and preeminence. We are clear in our message to said enemies that we will not negotiate and our force is sure and quick. Or at least, it was…
But what is our message to the Afghan people? As Christians, our hearts break for the hurting. How do we reconcile the fact that our nation had a hand in the pain inflicted upon millions?
There are so many questions to which we may never get answers. But we do have the final answer: God.
Many times, when we’re faced with insurmountable trials, we say, “All we can do now is pray.” It sounds good, right? Yes, we should pray. But “all we can do now is pray??” Friends, praying is all we should ever do!
So often we see prayer as our last resort after we’ve exhausted all our efforts—our meaningless, fruitless efforts—and we finally relent and give ourselves over to prayer as our last ditch effort after all else has failed.
Here’s what: all else will ALWAYS fail. That’s why God wants us to stay on our knees.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Pray without ceasing.”
It’s perfectly natural to wonder where God is in all of this. Has he abandoned us? Has He abandoned the Afghani people? Has he abandoned America?
During these times when our hearts cause even the most faithful to doubt, it is important to remember who our God is.
When the Israelites had turned their collective back on God one (or 5,000) too many times, God gave them over into captivity to the Babylonians. These were God’s people. They undoubtedly heard the stories of how their ancestors were delivered from slavery in Egypt. Surely, they had heard of how God parted the Red Sea to ensure their survival when Pharaoh and his army were pursuing them. Now, because they had forgotten God and His commandments that promised their security and a blessed life, God had given them over to the consequences of their sins. They were to be held captive for 70 years as prophesied.
Imagine the regret. Imagine the despair! Some, in their arrogance, claimed that God cared nothing about them and had abandoned them. But God hadn’t abandoned them. God told Jeremiah, the prophet who was predicting this impending exile, to tell the Israelites,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
God continues to assure Jeremiah of His love for His people:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
Read this and allow your heart to hear God’s heart in these words:
“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend [His friend!!]; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off;’ fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:8-10)
Friends, does that sound like a God who’s in the business of abandonment? And if He’s not, shouldn’t that kind of God inspire our sincerest devotion to Him and to prayer? Does that not sound like a God who has not forgotten His people?
We are also God’s chosen. That is no longer a term reserved for those of Jewish descent. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross has made a way for all to come to repentance and be welcomed into God’s family.
So, during these incredibly challenging times, we MUST stand strong for ourselves and our Afghani brothers and sisters. We MUST NOT be weary. In Isaiah, we are encouraged, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Now is the time, Christians, where we ask God to have mercy and draw those who don’t know the saving grace of Jesus into His arms. 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Well, what is God’s will? Easy answer. 1 Timothy tells us, “…it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
When all is said and done, no matter what the outcome is, we can, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1)
Read these verses and ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you by reminding you that our God is always just a whisper away…just a cry away…just a prayer away.
Psalm 50:15— “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Isaiah 65:24— “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”
Isaiah 58:9a— “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’”
Psalm 91:14-16— “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”