Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
This verse has been on my mind as I have watched the news about the war in Syria. We read this in the context of Jesus teaching us to consider the cost of disciple when we decide to follow Him. He is telling us not to just jump into something without thinking ahead about whether we are willing to make the commitment. I think the illustration about a king going to war can have some relevant applications for us.
So far the American people have not been convinced by the arguments President Obama has made to justify military strikes in Syria. While he is not calling for a war I think it still behooves us to think about what costs an engagement like this entails. Christians should ask themselves, and their elected officials, to lay out the plan and describe the objectives of this endeavor.
I think it is also important to mention that there is no biblical answer to this question about whether to strike. God knows the intentions of the president and will judge his actions accordingly. The Bible does say that Wisdom is justified by her children so we will have to see how things play out before we realize the prudent decision.
The events of the world are ordained by God and fit into His plan of redemption for mankind. We have to learn to trust that these are not just random tragedies without meaning. God is watchful and is actively at work in this region and He keeps His own counsel. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we can understand why but we are limited in our understanding. We can take comfort in the fact that this is nothing new and we have the opportunity to put our trust in the Lord, unlike so many of the Israelites of the Old Testament, and not let the fear and concern that this news can inspire choke out our fruit.