One day the conflict in Syria will come to an end. My prayer is that God is preparing a reasonable leader now, who can lead the country as it rebuilds. There are so many things that are messed up about Syria. I hope the country can acknowledge Israel and be at peace with her. I know there has been trouble between Syria and Israel since Biblical times, but does there always have to be? The teaching of Jesus that we should pray for our enemies seems like wise counsel in this great humanitarian crisis.
I feel like there are a couple things the Middle East could learn from America, not that our country is perfect in any way, but here are two things that seem to make us very different:
- We are a forward looking country. For the most part we just leave conflicts behind and move forward. We don’t tend to get stuck reliving prior conflicts. It’s true that there are Civil War reenactors and people who can’t bring themselves to ever buy a Japanese or German car after World War II, but these are exceptions.
- We let religious leaders do the work of leading people on journeys of faith and living lives that reflect the highest ideals of our chosen religion. We let the state do more mundane things like build roads, defend the country, and provide education. Somehow in America people have gotten the idea that the separation of church and state is to protect the state from religion. As a Presbyterian, I feel quite qualified to set the record straight: The reason behind the separation of church and state was to protect the Kingdom of God from the corrupting influence of political power. (How many times have I heard: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?) And the hope of many founders was that our chosen faith would make us better citizens.
For Syria, I pray for a counsel of peace to exist between the government and religious leaders in post-war civil war Syria and for God to lead all people of true religion to work together toward restoration and healing! I pray for peace and mutual respect between Syria and ALL its neighboring countries. I pray that Syria can draw strength from its past and its incredible heritage while looking forward to a brighter future. And most of all I pray that Syria’s future leadership will be guided by these wise words from Zechariah: “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor. And let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”