Patient Longing {Syria, Advent, and the Need for a Prince of Peace}

He is called the Prince of Peace…but war is raging and my heart is heavy. It’s buckling under the weight of children–innocents–who need peace.

Not just the kind of peace of which we Americans think. You know…

  • You need some peace and quiet, so you let the kids watch an extra hour of T.V.
  • You need a little financial peace, so you lay the bills aside to review them tomorrow
  • You’d like the stirring and strife of loneliness to be silenced, so you numb the relational deficit with an hour of Facebook
  • You’re tired of the neighbor’s intrusions, so you buy a bigger lot with taller hedges

…and this list could go on and on with all the many ways in which we trivialize the deeper meaning of peace that our neighbors in the Middle East deeply long to experience…today.

This realization presses hard against the walls of my faith.

I’m convicted that I pray so little for peace. Why don’t I talk more to the God who has declared He establishes and disposes kings and kingdoms (Dan. 2:21)?

I’m ashamed that my life is so defined by the kingdom of America, spoiled by way too many luxuries that assault the struggle of those trying to survive just one more day.

I cry for children experiencing unimaginable tortures. They should have mommy’s rocking them to sleep with a lullaby, but instead they are all running and screaming and hiding for their lives. How can we go through our day as if this suffering does not matter? What kind of people have we become?

I’m confused by my God who has the power to stop it with just the whisper of His command…but He doesn’t. I know in the deep recesses of my heart that this apparent silence doesn’t diminish His power, righteousness, mercy, or love; they remain, but hidden from my understanding. On day’s like today, I want to be able to choose the kind of understanding that doesn’t require faith, but it isn’t an option. I don’t like this.

How do you prepare your heart for Christmas when Syria has no peace? My heart doesn’t know how to celebrate the birth of Bethlehem’s Babe when I see fathers and mothers anguishing over the loss of their children. Instead I have only groans; the groaning of labor pains as I await the glory that one day will be revealed (Rom. 8:18-22).

Maybe this is true Advent waiting. At least it is for me tonight.

Will you join me in patient longing for the Prince of Peace to once again remove the gloom of a distressed land? Will you pray for the zeal of the Lord of Host to accomplish justice and righteousness in the face of terror and evil? We can long and pray because a child has been born for us, a son has been given…Mighty God! (Isaiah 9:1-7) Be mighty indeed.

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