Hmmm. So I'd like to say maybe this blog will finally start picking up, but perhaps it would be wiser to say time will tell. At any rate.
Yesterday I watched a documentary on Hulu called "Rethinking Afghanistan." While I believe the purpose of it was to (er) gently or not-so-gently critique the intelligence of maintaining U.S. troops within Afghanistan, I would like to avoid promoting any political opinion regarding the war here. Instead I would like to direct our attention to a call for prayer over the region, arising from a number of concerns related to the war:
-Although I absolutely refrain from pointing fingers or dispensing blame in the direction of any party, the documentary showed that collateral damage is very high. Many Afghan civilians are losing their homes, possessions, and even family members due to bombing and fighting between U.S. troops and resistant natives. Villages and farm plots can be destroyed, eliminating food sources and places of employment. Entire families are often forced to retreat to mass camps where it is not uncommon for starvation to ensue. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, there are at least 240,000 internally displaced persons currently within Afghanistan alone. This is an unimaginable number, and to consider something perhaps worse-- in order to avoid starvation for them and their families, many fathers and male breadwinners find themselves turning to the Taliban as the only available source of income. Toward the end I believe the documentary showed that certain organizations are beginning to notice this trend and efforts are being made in Afghanistan to provide other jobs...
Among all this, I suppose pray that God will show Himself powerfully to all the Afghan families who have been caught in the crossfire--to provide for them as He is able, and comfort them in their losses... to send helpers to them; people who will help them rebuild and aid them in obtaining food, clean water, and work outside the scope of the Taliban. Pray that there will be a great openness to Christ and the gospel among the Afghan people, and certainly for boldness, obedience, and safety for Christian missionaries in the region.
-De-stabilization in Afghanistan (and also Pakistan) remains very, very high. Politically the area is extremely disturbed, and so therefore that as the transfer of power is delicate and somewhat frenzied-- just that God's purposes will be honored-- that leaders and groups who offend His name and desires will be brought down according to His will, and that those who are chosen by His hand will be lifted up. Praise Him that He is the Sovereign Lord who watches the rise and fall of nations and rulers.
-Women still suffer widespread violence and oppression within Afghanistan's borders; in fact, rape and physical attack (beatings, etc.) have increased, as is evidenced during most times of war.
For them--just that God would be their protection and comfort, and that there would be a window cracked open from within Islam--that they could receive freedom and knowledge of their worth from Christ.
In all these things pray that we would rise up to be the Church God has called and desires for us to be--pray that the Church, as the bride of Christ, will rise up to faithfully address Afghanistan's needs.
-And finally, the United States Armed Forces (as of May 2010, according to The Telegraph) holds about 94,000 personnel within Afghan borders. As Christians I think it's critical for us to remember these men are potentially dying every day; the majority of them probably without faith. Let us intercede on their behalf--ask God to show them the same mercies He has graciously shown us, and let us pray that they would accept His gift of salvation.
Along with this, of course, there are many needs in Washington. President Obama, his cabinet, and all of congress face difficult decisions regarding the war (among other issues) daily. Instead of constantly expressing distaste at either their perceived or assured blunders, perhaps we could also remember them and ask that God supplies them wisdom. May they seek His righteousness.