Hunter Williamson

The drums of war grow louder in Lebanon. In recent weeks, cross border attacks intensified as warring parties escalated rhetoric of full-scale war. The uneasy status quo of a low-intensity conflict confined mostly to areas along the Lebanese-Israeli border seems it could collapse. Foreign governments have once again urged their citizens to leave the country. As Israel reportedly wraps up military operations in Rafah, we and many others in Lebanon hold our breath and pray, waiting to see if Israel will launch a ground offensive into Lebanon.  

No one knows with any certainty what such an offensive will look like. Israel may focus military operations on southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah, the armed Lebanese political party supported by Iran, exercises de facto control. Or it may advance further north, striking Hezbollah targets in Beirut and elsewhere. Hezbollah, for its part, has threatened to wage a war without limits if Israel invades.  

Such a conflict will be brutal. Hezbollah is far more powerful than Hamas, its networks spread across the country and mixed up with residential neighborhoods and civilian infrastructure. While Christian areas in Lebanon have largely been spared from the almost daily attacks, Israel has a precedence of committing collective punishment to put pressure on its enemies. We know too from partners in the region that Israeli troops have killed Christians in Gaza. For the past 8 months, we’ve been inundated with images from the enclave, where more than 37,626 people have reportedly been killed, with tens of thousands more injured or missing. Outside the walls of military planning rooms, we can only guess what a full-scale war will entail.  

Beyond the ugly politics of this conflict are actual people, people created in the image of God, people whom He desires to know Him, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Politics has blinded many people from this reality. Filled with hate and fear, they see the opposing side as subhuman. However this war ends, one thing is certain: it has created yet another lost generation, one that will be exploited by others for evil, perpetuating the cycle of destruction and darkness ever more.  

The only solution, the only hope and light for this conflict, which has troubled the Middle East for decades, is the Hope of Christ. Only He has the power to solve what continuously eludes short-term political settlements. Only He can heal the heart, the source of the evil and hate that drive this conflict. Without such hope, we may perceive this ever expanding war with the dim, fatalistic conclusion that it is just another bloody chapter in a region long afflicted by turmoil. 

But the hope of Christ shows us a way out. It reminds us constantly that what the devil intends for evil, God uses for our good. We’ve seen it time and time again, from the conflict in Syria to the civil war in Sudan. Amid the suffering and pain, He watches over His flock and brings His lost sheep back to Him. He feeds the hungry, comforts the broken hearted, gives rest to the weary. Amid wars and rumors of wars, we stay anchored in this truth, continuing our work to support the local church in the Arab world for the glory of God and His Kingdom. 

Whatever may come, we turn to Him, trusting and knowing that He is sovereign over all. 

Help Thimar support the witness of the church in the Arab world

Our vision is to see communities transformed and churches flourishing both in Lebanon and the MENA region for the glory of God.

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