He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. (Psalm 46:9 NKJV)
On September 11, 2011, President Obama read Psalm 46 during a memorial service honoring those who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As I read the news report, I asked myself: When was the last time we had peace?
According to several online sources, the longest period of time in history without war is from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Though many reasons are given for the absence of worldwide conflict during this time, I believe that one of the reasons is that the hearts of mankind were turned toward God.
In all my searching, I discovered that this peaceful time coincides with the Second Great Awakening in the United States, a time of spiritual revival, when many acknowledged and embraced Jesus Christ as Savior. During this time, most of the student body at Yale University is saved. Itinerant preachers travel from place to place in the South preaching the Gospel to ordinary people. As Western expansion progresses, the throngs of settlers moving into sparsely populated lands take their Bibles with them into an untamed land. They rely on it for inspiration, for instruction and as the foundation for building character in their offspring.
Salvation brings about individual and collective change. It shifts our focus from self to God, and consequently, to others. Being a Christian promotes selfless giving. As a result, benevolent societies are created. In response to the Great Commission, organizations such as the American Bible Society, spring up to propagate the Word. A true relationship with Jesus Christ leads people to examine matters of conscience. Therefore, the issues of temperance, women’s rights and slavery come under scrutiny during this time.
After the September 11th attacks, we rallied together to give aide and assistance to those affected by tragedy. Many flocked back to our churches out of fear. But fear is not enough. Fear does not make us free or hold us together for long. When the danger or crisis is past, we tend to revert to our old way of living. Instead, we need true conversion, which comes through love, and is powered by faith and undergirded by the hope of a future with God in heaven.
Jonah 2:9 says, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” Peace also comes from Him.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
You are our refuge and our strength. Thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for sending us your Son to redeem us from sin. Forgive us for keeping your Word to ourselves. The nations are hungry for the power they contain. Through your great mercy you make it possible for us to reach millions through the air waves and electronically. You give us opportunities daily to tell others about you. Though today we are faced by a new threat of war with Syria, we know that you hear our prayers and that we can trust you to answer.
In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace,