Have you heard what has been going on in Libya? Demonstrations, riots, fighting. It's not only there; the turmoil seems to have started in Tunisia and spread across the Middle East. Scenes on the television news and Internet sites show crowds of people chanting and screaming. At times violence breaks out, with rock throwing, firebombs and gunfire.
But Libya, Egypt and Tunisia are far away from most of us, right? That sort of thing could never happen here, could it?
Violence far and near
I realize that for some of you reading this, Libya may be fairly nearby, but for most, the fighting in the Middle East is very far away. But it should still matter to you.
Vertical thinkers know that the Creator God takes a special interest in the Middle East, and particularly the area around Jerusalem. Bible prophecies show that what happens there can spread, and it will affect all the rest of the world. That is a discussion for another time, but if you would like to learn more, request or download the free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy. It is important to realize that what we saw happening in the Middle East could happen in your neighborhood too.
History shows that time and again political unrest has led to bloodshed. In the 1830s and '40s a wave of revolutions swept across most European nations, with scenes that would appear very much like those we've watched on television in recent weeks.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. It began because men could not reconcile their political differences about government and slavery. Political disagreements escalated into one of the bloodiest wars in history, right here in the United States.
Still, you might say, things have changed a lot since the 1800s. They have in ways, but it was less than 20 years ago that a six-day riot broke out in Los Angeles, California. Nearly a billion dollars of property damage occurred, 53 people died and thousands more were injured—not in the Middle East, but in California. It could happen in your town.
How can you be safe?
So, how can you be safe in a world of violence? Is there a place to be safe or measures you can take? In a word, yes! But real safety won't be found behind bars and locks or from guns and ammunition. That same God who is concerned with events in the Middle East is concerned with your safety as well. If you follow His direction in your life, He promises real, physical protection.
A particularly poetic portion of the Bible says it this way: "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you." Why? "Because you have made the Lord…your dwelling place" (Psalm 91:7, 9).
Consider the story of a young man in the Bible who was in Jerusalem when an invading army captured and destroyed the city. This fellow named Baruch bewailed his fate, but God sent him a personal message promising to protect his life in the midst of war and destruction (Jeremiah 45:2-5). What does this story have to do with you, today? Everything!
These stories are not just ancient fables. They're examples and promises that we can rely on when the world around us gets crazy. What we saw in the Middle East will happen again and again. Yet we do not have to be afraid. If we look to and follow the one, true God, we can trust that He will keep us safe.