The United States is preparing evacuation plans for up to six hundred thousand Americans in Israel in the event of a full-scale ground war in the region. In addition, there are as many as six hundred Americans still trapped in Gaza.
Meanwhile, we are seeing reports today that two dozen American military personnel were wounded last week in a series of drone attacks on American bases in Syria and Iraq. US officials have learned that Iranian-backed militia groups are planning to ramp up attacks against US forces in the Middle East as Iran seeks to capitalize on regional backlash to America’s support for Israel. There are “red lights flashing everywhere,” one official said. Another added, “We see a prospect for much more significant escalation against US forces and personnel in the near term.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the United Nations Security Council yesterday, “If Iran or its proxies attack US personnel anywhere, make no mistake. We will defend our people, we will defend our security—swiftly and decisively.” As our military heightens surveillance operations in the region, it is also sending an aircraft carrier, air defense systems, and additional F-16 fighter jets to defend American troops.
Where is this leading?
“The world is mustering for war”
Robert Clark is a British military veteran with postgraduate degrees in defense studies and Arabic. He served in operational tours in the Middle East and Afghanistan and is currently director of defense and security at the think tank Civitas. His sobering recent article for the Telegraph is titled “The US stands on the brink of global war with the Middle East and Asia.”
He writes: “The world is mustering for war. Conflict is already raging in Europe, with Russian and Ukrainian forces locked in offensive and counteroffensive. The aftermath of the Hamas terror attack upon Israel could now see the Middle East ignited.”
Clark points to drone and missile attacks on American forces by Iran’s proxies in Iraq and Syria. He adds that three cruise missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists in Yemen were potentially targeting Israel before they were shot down by a US warship. If successful, such an attack could have led to Israeli retaliation against Iran, potentially triggering a direct war—and US involvement.
Meanwhile, Clark writes, “Washington is engaged in frantically regearing its own military to face the threat posed by an increasingly belligerent Chinese communist regime, intent on reunification with Taiwan by force if necessary.” (Read more in “Why does China want to invade Taiwan?“) Between the war in Europe and our increasing involvement in the Middle East, “Beijing may see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
And Clark notes that Iran could “decide to further provoke the US in its attempts to assert regional dominance, attempting to drive the Americans to disengage and leave Israel to stand on its own.” In short, he warns, “Within months, the US could be directly involved in two devastating wars on two continents [while] bankrolling a third in Ukraine.”
The ultimate answer to all human conflict
One way I am praying for God to redeem the escalating crises of our day is by using them to expose our need for help beyond human capacity.
Our astounding technological advances in recent years have made our world not safer but more dangerous. Our growing secularism has directed our innate passion for transcendent causes into partisan tribalism. Our rejection of objective truth has rendered many Americans unable to recognize and condemn even gross immorality such as the atrocities committed by Hamas’s terrorists against innocent Israelis.
These facts remind us that the ultimate answer to all human conflict lies not in human agency but in divine transformation.
This is why we each need Jesus: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19a). And it is why believers need to share the gospel: “and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (v. 19b). With this result: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God” (v. 20).
Our message is clear and simple: “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (v. 21).
This is why Paul said of his fellow Jews, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). And it is why apostolic Christians paid such a high price to reach the larger Roman world so that “the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7) They were willing to give their lives so the world could say, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
“The whole offer which Christianity makes”
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis described our need for personal intimacy with God: “There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made.” He explained: “If you want to get warm, you must stand near the fire; if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.”
He added: “They are not a sort of prize which God could, if he chose, just hand out to anyone.” Rather, “They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you; if you are not, you will remain dry.”
Then Lewis asked: “Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?”
And he noted, “The whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have his way, come to share in the life of Christ. . . . Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
Will you “let God have his way” with your life?
Will you help those you know “share in the life of Christ” today?
NOTE: This is the last note from me about our latest book release, Bold Faith: First-Century Lessons for Twenty-First-Century Christians. It’s a cultural commentary through the book of Acts, looking at how the Holy Spirit moved through the first-century church as they faced a culture staunchly set against them (which may sound familiar). I encourage you to request your copy of Bold Faith today.