As a congressman, my husband was actively engaged in the debate about whether to go to war with Iraq.
While he cast his vote last Thursday, each of us is involved in shaping the course of events now. Whether on a battlefield, in the halls of Congress, or at home or at work, we each cast a vote with every thought we think. We are choosing what we consider to be valid or true about life. These thoughts shape our world.
A Bible story that has helped me in my prayers about the events going on between the US and Iraq is an account in the Old Testament in I Samuel, chapter 25. It tells how a military buildup was defused by intelligence, resourcefulness, and inspired action.
The story begins with David, who is preparing to go to war with a man named Nabal. Nabal had benefited from the protection that David had provided him. He refused, however, to pay or to recognize David for his work.
So David gathers up his army and prepares to do Nabal harm. Before he is able to do so, however, Nabal's wife, Abigail, intercedes and convinces David not to go to war. She overcomes David's wrath with gentleness and sound reasoning. Peace is achieved as David's military aggression is tempered with Abigail's intelligence and insight.
In my prayers for the Iraqi situation, I listen for what qualities of God are needed in order to bring calm and balance. Certainly there is a call for honesty, forthrightness, wisdom, clarity of thought, and right judgment. These are moral and spiritual qualities. They originate in God and have the power of divine Truth. Truth doesn't stop at a border and is not partial to one nation.
Truth is the voice that speaks within each of us, telling us what is right and good and true. That voice is universal and is as audible to an Iraqi as it is to an American. Recognizing this universal Truth, God, as the source of intelligence governing the world helps us awaken to that voice.
As Truth comes alive in my heart, the negative qualities, such as deception, hatred, and revenge, stand out in sharp contrast. In this context, I'm able to see that because they are not from God they have no foundation. My eyes are opened to the full potential of every man and woman to act justly, wisely, compassionately, in the best interest of humanity.
At one point in my career, I worked at a correctional center for teenage boys. One evening I found myself alone with several of the young men, when one of them challenged my authority. He was known for his physical strength and prided himself on his rippling muscularity.
The other residents were concerned for my safety and suggested I leave immediately. I knew that if I did leave, all chaos would break out on the compound, and the safety of the rest of the staff and residents would be put in jeopardy. My choices were not appealing stay and risk being assaulted or leave and allow chaos to take over the center. I knew, however, that I had a third choice, and that was to pray. So I prayed.
Like Abigail, I spoke to the man I knew to be there not to the man I saw before me. I knew that the qualities of God's creation included right thinking and obedience. These qualities couldn't be overshadowed by evil influences. Prayer enabled me to see the spiritual facts that were present.
After several minutes of my standing firm, the young man backed down from his aggressive stance. He picked up a broom and proceeded to do his evening chores as if nothing had happened.
What I knew about the nature of God's creation enabled me to face what appeared to be overwhelming odds. It allowed me to defuse anger and face the challenge with quiet assurance and calm resolve. This is the promise prayer holds for the present world situation as well.
What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?