January 8, 2007

The War on Terror
by Pastor George Van Alstine

Since the 2001 destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City, we have heard constantly that we are involved in a “War on Terror.â€? The Patriot Act and other special initiatives have reshaped our lives as American citizens. Our troops are fighting more localized wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as parts of the larger War on Terror.

The current Washington administration can take credit for creating the term “War on Terror,â€? but they did not initiate the war and they have no power to end it. The more basic War on Terror began in the Garden of Eden and will not end until Jesus returns to the earth! Every human being has lived with the threat of terror because terror is the gut-level response of a person who exists in a world of sin and destruction without a Protector.

It’s only when a person becomes God’s friend that the full reality of this terror can be acknowledged. Think of the words of Psalm 91:
“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.â€?

Four manifestations of the terror with which we live are mentioned in verses 5 and 6:
â—? “the terror of the nightâ€? – The shadowy fear of the unknown that grips us in the darkness.
â—? “the arrow that flies by dayâ€? – The more open and obvious attacks from enemies who are trying to do us harm.
â—? “the pestilence that stalks in darknessâ€? – The mysterious diseases that can attack and bring us down.
â—? “the destruction that wastes at noondayâ€? – Only those who live in a desert land can appreciate the terror of dying of thirst under the blazing sun.

How can we face such horrible, threatening enemies? We need a Mighty Warrior to fight for us. But God presents himself as so powerful and superior to all these forces that he doesn’t need to mount a frantic attack. Two metaphors are used in verse 4 for his protection:
(1) His faithfulness is a shield.
(2) His wings cover us, as a mother bird covers her chicks.
Both of these are passive images, demonstrating that the powers that terrorize us are of no great concern to him. He exerts minimal energy to deal with them.

We hope our country’s War on Terror will see some success, without further loss of life. But God’s age-long War on Terror is a sure thing. It’s under control and victory is assured.