“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.
"You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” — Luke 21:10-13, 16-19
We, generally, live in peaceful times. Although in some parts of the world (like the Middle East), wars and violence are still rampant, in most parts of the world, there is peace. You’re reading this because you live in a place far away from war. You have the leisure, no, the privilege to do so. Many others don’t. How often do we take peace for granted?
We heard stories of violence and lawlessness during times of war. But, we also heard stories of resilience, bravery, selfless sacrifice, relentless love, and unwavering faith. War brings out the worst in some of us. But, it also brings out the best in most of us. It reveals what the human spirit truly is about—hope, faith, and love.
In times of peace, we become too comfortable for our own good. Our spirits become lukewarm. We begin to act as if we own the world. Not experiencing any pain, many of us become indifferent towards the pains and needs of others. For some of us who overcome their own challenges, we forget how others helped us in our journey and fail to help others. We busy ourselves with things that will not stand the test of time. We do what is right in our own eyes.
In times of peace, people also suffer albeit in different ways. We suffer from anxiety, animosity, fear, greed, pride, inequality, and contempt—the things that lead to war.
We’ve been here before. During the time of the Judges, the Israelites fell in a cycle of sin, servitude, and salvation. Every time the Israelites became too comfortable, they worshipped other gods and did what was right in their own eyes. They failed to care for and equip their poor and underprivileged. Then, war would break out and they would be conquered by other nations. During times of hardships and difficulties, they would learn to pray and care for others until a savior arose and conquered their enemies. Once again, they became free. But, once they became too comfortable, they started following their own ways. Seems familiar?
The media and stories from the internet are painting a picture of a calm before a storm. There’s unrest everywhere. Economies are collapsing. World powers are shifting. Mankind may be one or two wrong decisions away from a war. A war may just be around the corner.
If war breaks out, we’d probably be the ones to blame because of our actions (or inaction), because of our indifference that leads to others’ pain and, eventually, to contempt, because of doing what is right in our own eyes during this time of peace.
No one wins in a war. But, if a war does break out, it would remind us what the human spirit is all about. The human spirit is unbreakable. It reveals its true nature during times of adversity. But, if we can learn our lessons and show others what the human spirit is about without a war, that would be much better.
P.S. Here’s what I believe in: The world is still safer and more peaceful than it seems. Without the noise coming from the media (and social media), you’ll realize how quiet and peaceful the world really is. Try walking outside without your phone one morning. You’ll hear the birds chirping, the dogs barking, and the leaves rustling in the wind. But, taking your eyes away from your phone, you’ll also see how people other than ourselves are suffering.
[Every Sunday, I share my imperfect reflections on God’s perfect word.]