I just realized that I had mentioned that Jody, my beloved, had gone to Beirut, but I never mentioned that she had returned. Well, she’s back. She departed Lebanon about 48 hours before hell broke loose. We are grateful she left when she did (a group that came in the day after had to be bussed out of Lebanon through Syria) but our hearts are grieving for what is happening.
When Jody returned she brought with her the memories of friends she met while there. These are brothers and sisters, followers of Jesus. They, as we, are called to live between the worlds.Â Yet, even though they are not of this world, they still are living in it and are being swept along with the tide of poliltics and national interest.
We followers of Jesus have no nation but the Kingdom and no leader but the King of Kings, but we still live among nations and kings. Some of us are fortunate to live in peace in a nation that is strong and secure. Others live on the edge of the knife. Jody brought back with her pictures of a city restored from the ashes of war, streets clear of rubble, and people living in the promise of peace. Now, Beirut is returning to the ashes. This is a reminder that no kingdom or nation is eternal this side of God’s Kingdom. All the nations are as a drop in the bucket.
In the midst of the misery of this war, we know followers of Jesus. We pray the names of Palestinians and Israelis; Russian Pentecostals and Lebanese Evangelicals–all followers of Jesus. We know Jewish followers of Jesus, and Muslim followers of Jesus. We are all together between the worlds, but we fear for these our people–brothers and sisters– for whom to be in the world means to be vulnerable to the fires of hatred.
We have no way of knowing whether these are safe. Some we have heard from, the fate of others is a matter of prayer. A family in Lebanon who hosts a house church like ours is still unaccounted for, and we haven’t heard from friends in Haifa. Please join us in prayer for them, all expatriates of this world. Among them–among us–“there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Among us is not Israeli or Lebanese; Hezbollah or Hamas, only children of God because of Jesus, our brother, savior, son of God and God the son, our redeemer and soon coming King.
Pray for them. And while you’re at it, pray for God’s mercy upon all who are caught up in this and the other wars that rage like wildfires across the Middle East. As dwellers “in between,” it is our responsibility to intercede, not only for our people, but for all people. Such is the heart of God.