Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Trust And Obey"1 (Lyrics)
The civil war in Syria has been in the news for a couple of years now. At the beginning of September, it was estimated that over 100,000 people had lost their lives, almost two million had fled to surrounding countries, and over four million had been displaced within their own country. The numbers are staggering, and it is impossible to comprehend the sufferings of individuals and families.
One night recently we saw a television report of some Christians worshipping in Damascus — brothers and sisters in Christ worshipping God in a war-torn country. It was inspiring to witness their expression of faith under very difficult, dangerous circumstances.
That made me think about the early Christians, and how they feared, suffered, were captured, and often, taken away and killed.
Acts 9:1-2 – Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (NKJV)
But then the Lord intervened.
Acts 9:3-4 – As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (NKJV)
In October of 1973, I was on a business trip to Damascus, and I took some time one morning to look around the inner city. A young lad from a shop where I bought a few things to take home offered to show me around. We walked through the market and went to the Great Mosque and some other places of interest. Then he took me to the street called Straight, and I marvelled at the fact that this was where Saul was taken after his conversion on the road to Damascus, right there to Straight Street, the very place where the Christians of Damascus worshipped and where they are still worshipping the risen Lord.
The Lord intervened in Saul's plans to persecute the early believers. He heard the Lord, he believed, he was baptized, and "Immediately he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God." (Acts 9:20 NKJV)
The Christians and all the other people of Syria are suffering at the present time, and it seems that neither diplomacy nor the threat of outside military intervention will change this. It is going to take divine intervention to bring peace to that region. This is something that we should all pray for.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for the residents of the war-torn country of Syria. We ask that You would speak to the hearts of those people who have the ability to change things so that they can live in peace without fear of death and destruction. We pray that You would speak to them as You spoke to Saul on the way to Damascus, and that Your name be praised. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.