Terrorist attacks of unprecedented dimensions. Wars and rumors of wars. Recent events have left people reeling. Stunned, they ask, 'Where is God? How could such things happen?' Numerous negotiations were supposed to guarantee peace. Has diplomacy failed after all ? Why?
The Unconsidered Factor
One factor has not been taken into consideration. Man cannot bring about world peace. He just cannot. The peace euphoria of recent years was an illusion. One alone is in control. One alone is Lord, Ruler over all nations, directing the course of human events, including war and peace. What He says comes to pass. The Old Testament gives various examples of God announcing to His people that war would suddenly break out with the invasion of enemy armies. This was God's response to their refusal to turn from flagrant sins.
So apart from enemy aggression, is there perhaps another cause for the present situation? Undoubtedly. How can there be peace among the nations if people go on committing atrocious sins? The unborn are killed by the million. Children are abused, kidnapped, misused for pornographic purposes and even as victims at Satanic rituals. Young people are unscrupulously led astray, introduced to sadism through horror shows and mystery thrillers, demoralized through rock music with perverse and diabolical lyrics. They are driven into addictions, reduced to pliable instruments of the evil one, and raised to be godless, and antagonistic towards authority. All kinds of esoteric practices, sorcery, witchcraft and occultism are the order of the day. Satanism is spreading like wildfire. Justice is perverted. Divorce is prevalent. Families are being destroyed. Perverse forms of sex are legitimized, euthanasia and assistance in 'dying humanely' increasingly legalized. Through genetic engineering man encroaches on the Creator's sovereignty. Most horrific of all, man dares to blaspheme the thrice-holy God. But often we are so proud of our nation that we don't notice when it is approaching its downfall.
Sin calls down divine judgment: God's response to the almost unbelievable and appalling sins now characterizing our nations. God has borne with these sins for many long years. In His love and compassion He has kept extending the time of grace. He has to force Himself to send judgment. If there is any way that He can prevent it. He will. He is the God of patience: He is longsuffering and merciful (EXODUS 34:6; 2 CHRONICLES 7:14).
Sin Has Reached a Climax
However, the satanic sins of humanity have reached a climax. The nations speak of peace, while hatred and murder are commonplace. Is it logical to assume that peace can be had with other nations in which sin and hatred are just as prevalent? Or with those nations that demand that the 'infidels', i.e. all non-Moslems, be killed and eradicated, as the Koran instructs? 'Take not the Jews and Christians for friends - 'When ye encounter the infidels, strike off their heads till ye have made a great slaughter among them (SURAS 5:51; 47:4; SEE ALSO, FOR INSTANCE, SURA 9:5,29).
The hour has come for God to break His silence. His grief over this sin-polluted world cannot but express itself in divine wrath, born of His anguish. But how does divine wrath tally with a God of love? When sin is turning the world into hell, is it not ultimately a wise and loving plan of God to intervene? Through the shattering events of our times, people are jolted out of sinful activities. Many wake up, realizing that their lives might soon be over. Such events are a warning from God, a call to repentance.
How was it that sin could gain such a hold over us? In the Western nations people are strongly motivated by pride. Self-realization and self-assertion are encouraged. Obedience and every form of authority are widely rejected. But now the almighty, holy God steps in. He is the Lord and Maker of heaven, earth and all mankind, the Creator of the stars in the sky and of the whole cosmos. Before Him we are but a speck of dust. So that we dare not act as if we were masters of our own destiny. He shows us, in His love, where we stand in relationship to Him.
God allows calamity to happen so that those who are willing may be rescued from the boundless pride and arrogance so characteristic of humanity today and instilled from an early age. Now the time has come when God is beginning to reveal Himself in His majesty. He teaches us to bow down before Him in reverence and to submit to His leadings, which are inspired by love. He allows disaster to strike, so that man might take his rightful place before Him: turn to Him and be saved.
'The Lord is compassionate'
God has placed a great deal of responsibility into our hands. How successful the terrorists will be in their assaults, and how far they can damage or destroy vital facilities - all this and many other possibilities depend partly on whether we repent and pray. Where there is repentance, God relents and holds back His judgment (JEREMIAH 18:78), for He is merciful. Praying people help to influence events. Through prayer we can move the hand of Him who rules the world. How was it, for instance, when the Amalekites warred against the children of Israel at Rephidim? As Joshua opposed the Amalekites, Moses prayed on the hilltop, and through his prayers the Israelites prevailed (EXODUS 17:8-13).
We don't need to be petrified with fear or so depressed that we are incapable of going about our normal business. No difficult situation has ever been mastered through despair. God has given us a mission, by which we ourselves will also benefit. That mission is to repent and pray. Then the judgment that God as the righteous Judge has begun to send upon our corrupt nations will be lessened in its severity. Then the terrorists will not be able to cause destruction on the scale they had planned. So let us not succumb to our fears, or allow worries any place in our hearts. They will only wear us out.
The Lord is waiting for our repentance and faith. When we are in a desperate situation, we can experience His closeness and help as never before (PSALM 46:1). In order to go through this critical time victoriously, we need to be strong. Strength comes when we turn to God, when we are honest and admit that it is our sinning that has brought on this judgment. Not only that. If we are willing to repent and devote ourselves to prayer, then judgment will be tempered with mercy. Who would want to miss such a unique opportunity!
The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.