Summary: As long as there is greed and evil in this world, there will be war. War will only cease when we live according to the way God wants us to live, and that will only happen when Christ returns.
Today-Nov. 11, 2014-is a special day in a special year. Today is the day when we pause to remember and give thanks for those who fought in wars past to preserve our freedom and those who still work to protect our freedoms today. This year we also remember three significant events in history: the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII and the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy during WWII.
Anniversaries are times of celebration and reflection. In particular, Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on wars past and present. We live in chaotic times, but the world has been in chaotic times since the beginning of time. We have been fighting wars since the beginning of time, and we are still fighting wars today. Since the end of World War II, there have been more than 250 wars worldwide.
In particular, we are fighting the war on terror, especially the group known as ISIS. We are fighting a hostile enemy in a hostile environment. This enemy will use every weapon at its disposal to try to gain victory-including kidnapping and murdering innocent civilians. This environment, like all environments of war, is hostile. In this environment, conflict is inevitable.
Here in Canada, we might think that we are immune to this. After all, the last time a war was fought on our soil was over 200 years ago during the War of 1812. Unfortunately, having this view is like looking at ourselves through rose-coloured glasses. The recent shootings at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill and the recent hit-and-run death of a soldier in Quebec should serve as reminders that no one is immune from the forces of evil and terror.
No one in his or her right mind wants war. The cost in terms of money, property damage, injuries and death is astronomical, and those of you who have been in battle know what I am talking about. We must love our enemies if at all possible, but sometimes we need to heed the words of an old Irish blessing that goes like this. “May God bless those who love us, and those who do not love us, may He turn their hearts. If he does not turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles so we may know them by their limping.”
Unfortunately, there are times when war is necessary. When I was preparing this message, I came across the message I delivered here on Remembrance Day in 2006. In that message, I mentioned that pacifists believe that if we prepare for war, we will get war. In their view, the only way to achieve peace is to eliminate the causes of war, but sometimes this means going to war. Sometimes war is the only way to get rid of dictators and terrorists like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Hussein, bin Laden and ISIS. The goal of pacifists is admirable and in fact we must try to avoid war if possible, but sometimes war is necessary and inevitable. Sooner or later war destroys those who resort to it, especially with nuclear weapons.
War is hell. It might be necessary at times, but it is not “good”. It is evil. We find strength not in our weapons, but in our faith in God. War is a tragic fact of life in our world. God prefers peace, but he often sends his people into war. He does so under three conditions: