So many of you have expressed your support for Ryan and our family as we respond to our son’s cancer diagnosis. Janet and I will share updates as they seem appropriate, but Ryan wants us to continue focusing on our ministry during these challenging days. Turning from our family to cultural issues, it seems to me that we need to think biblically this morning about Iran.
Yesterday, Iranian leaders offered to resume talks over their nuclear program as soon as possible. At the same time, they announced their first domestically-produced fuel rod and a new generation of centrifuges. Most experts think that Iran is months, or more likely years, away from a nuclear bomb. But what would happen if their leaders obtained nuclear weapons? Imagine recent events in Iraq, Libya or Syria if their dictators possessed such arms.
At the very worst, Iran could launch on Israel. Many doubt this outcome, as Israel possesses at least 200 nuclear warheads that could be used in retaliation. However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that their Mahdi (a kind of Shiite Muslim Messiah) would protect the Muslim world if they attack Israel.
At the very least, Iranian nuclear weapons would embolden Hamas and Hezbollah, its proxies in the Middle East, and force other countries such as Saudi Arabia to pursue nuclear arms in self-defense. Nations such as the U.S. might work even harder for regime change, hoping to elevate leaders who would be less militant.
How should we think biblically about Iran? I pray every day for a great spiritual awakening in the Muslim world and for a popular uprising in Iran that would replace her extremist leaders. God used the Persians to overthrow the Babylonians and liberate his people 25 centuries ago; could he use the Persians (modern-day Iran) to liberate their own nation?
I am asking the Lord to guide our leaders as they navigate these threatening times. God calls us to pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). Have you prayed for our president and his advisers yet today?
And I “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” asking that “there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels” (Psalm 122:6-7). Would you join me in praying each day for God to protect Israel and bring spiritual awakening to the Middle East?
Your fears may be closer to home today. Name them, trust them to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and claim his promise: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). This is the invitation, and the assurance, of God.