How do we reconcile a Holy Faith with death and killing?
How do we reconcile Love with war, conflict, and suffering?
How do we reconcile Hope with apparently desperate, forlorn situations?
How do the these seemingly contrasting paradigms fit together?
These are some of the questions believers are often privately faced with or externally asked when the controversial topic of war and conflict comes up. In a world riddled with increasing violence, fear, rage and sin, how does one keep their faith steadfast, their hope alive and their love strong?
Memorial day is upon us, and it’s a day where Americans pay tribute and honor the memory and sacrifice of the multitude of men and women who have lost their lives in battle trying to defend the freedoms and liberties of its citizens.
Remembering fallen heroes, and being mindful their sacrifices and services has nothing to do with consenting and siding with politics, governments, and religion. Rather, its’s being appreciative that among us once walked and lived courageous women and men who were willing to pay the sacrifice for the sake of others. It’s recognizing this bravery and gallantry of people who thought of others above self.
Memorial day dates back to the American civil war with the practice of placing flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers to commemorate and pay tribute recollecting the service and ultimate sacrifice of departed soldiers.
We don’t like war because it’s painful and with it comes death, loss, grief, suffering, and devastation. Even after such a ravaging and disastrous outcome, it leaves survivors scarred for life.
And yet, many of us find ourselves in the middle of a conflict. We find ourselves attacked without provocation. Most of us want peaceful lives and stability. We want to enjoy life and be happy and make wonderful memories with our families. War and conflict take that away from us.
Despite our distaste for war, many times we can’t really avoid it or run away from it because from time to time the enemy will attack us in our safe abodes as we are minding our own businesses and living our lives. Other times, we are born into hostilities and fightings whose origins we had nothing to do with. Many of the valiant men and women who fight our battles have nothing to do with the wars they find themselves fighting in faraway places away from family and home.
Therefore, voluntarily or involuntarily, we often find our loved ones, ourselves, our spouses, our parents, our, friends, our children joining the armed forces and the military.
Confrontation with these challenging and despondent realities is tough and yet we have to find ways of reconciling the various effects and consequences of war like pain, chaos, devastation with our lives, our faith, our values, our hopes, our dreams.
For some, finding ways to cope with loss, deal with grief, keep faith strong, manage pain, hope for better, love broken survivors and even extending love to enemies is often a challenging and difficult thing and many have found themselves spiraling into depression, PTSD, and constant anxiety if not offered the proper support systems.
Consequently, as we reflect on some of these things, we should never take for granted the liberties and privileges we enjoy daily. Because these Gifts were provided by the utterly expensive and invaluable sacrifice of others. These reflections should therefore prompt us to accord the right honor and esteem for these services.
We should also recall that there are countless families affected by the departure of their loved ones to the battlefields. There are some families grieving the loss of loved ones who have since passed on and yet there are other families that are clinging to hope that their cherished ones fighting will return home safe, healthy, uninjured and sound.
However, honoring the memory and service of fallen soldiers during memorial day should go deeper and further for believers. It should also be a time that helps us give thought to and contemplate our own mortality, inadequacy, fragility, imperfection and the spiritual battle that has been going on for ages but seems to be intensifying of late.
It should also be a reminder to us that we are nothing without God and we need him daily to help us make it through the various trials, tribulations, hardships, temptations that life is bound to bring our way.
As the Spiritual warfare heightens, burgeons and attacks from the enemy keep coming in various forms of; sickness, poverty, discomfort, suffering, disappointments, loss, shortages, anguish, despair, torment, torture, pain, confusion, turmoil etc. let us hold fast to our faith remembering that God our father is in ultimate control and he protects and covers us by his constant mercies, compassion, love and kindness. And going further to extend these virtues to others around us.
In light of all this, we collected the Bible verses below to help strengthen faith, give hope and offer love for the moments and times we find ourselves attacked and facing war, conflict, devastation, disagreement, fighting, battle, destruction and hostilities.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Joshua 1:9 (KJV)
2 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
4 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
7 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
2 Samuel 22:2-7 (KJV)
Enhancing your hope
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Psalms 27:3-6 (KJV)
20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
22 Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
Psalms 33:20-22 (KJV)
Invigorating your hope
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Psalms 46:1-3 (KJV)
1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 (KJV)
12 For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
Isaiah 66:12-14 (KJV)
13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.
Isaiah 66:13-14 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
John 11:25-26 (KJV)
Assisting you to love
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 (KJV)
Fueling your hope
3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (KJV)
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:11-13 (KJV)
Urging you to have faith, hope and love
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-16 (KJV)
~ Elijah Adam ~
Also published on Medium.