My Afghan War Rug

August 29, 2018
by Diane Eaton

Matthew 24:6a – You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. (NIV)

An unusual piece of art hangs on my downstairs hall wall. It's an Afghan War Rug designed with army tanks, AK-47s, explosions, grenades, helicopters, and a map of Afghanistan.

Understandably, most people prefer not to display such violent images. That's what I felt, too, when a friend passed me the mat to drop at the thrift store. But I couldn't let it go — not yet. Its quality was too remarkable. I did an Internet search and discovered that I possessed a valuable work of art. It became something more for me.

My mat belongs to a rug tradition that arose during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979. Previously, Afghan rug-makers wove peaceful symbols into their wool rugs, like flowers and birds. Now they wove the violence that they encountered in their daily lives. It was the only existence that they knew.

My particular rug features the Soviet exodus with a column of tanks heading north out of Afghanistan. Tragically, the exodus was not the end of suffering. The Taliban rose up and inflicted more violence and oppression. Ousting them did not end the misery.

Now, when I pass by this rug, I think of those suffering the atrocities of war. I pray for them; I face my addiction to comfort. My Afghan War Rug has become my Prayer Rug. It links me between God and broken humanity, including my own brokenness. Furthermore, the rug reinforces Scripture's truthfulness — like Daniel's prophecy, repeated by Jesus:

Daniel 9:26 – War will continue until the end. (NIV)

Mark 13:7 – When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (NIV)

This prophecy has been remarkably accurate so far. If humans had put in their word, they would have promised a better world: peace through conquest and revolution, through human achievement. Isn't that what revolutionaries promise, still today? People still believe it and support the cause, even though war has killed untold millions under the illusion of a new society where all will experience blissful equality. It's a lie!

Our only hope is God. The psalmists, who were often victims of war, expressed this faith:

Psalm 27:1-3 – The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. (NIV)

My Afghan War Rug has become my Prayer Rug — by drawing me toward God.

Prayer: Mighty God, may the psalmist's hope echo in the hearts of believers suffering through war today. Be their comfort and stronghold. Empower them to be witnesses of hope among fellow sufferers. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good word, Diane.


    Wow! That’s awesome! Thanks for telling us about that!


    Thank you, Diane, for sharing this devotional reminder that peace comes through Christ Jesus. Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing this fascinating story!
    What a wonderful reminder of the needs in our global village and to pray.


    Hi Diane
    Thank you for this very meaningful prayer rug. Yes, I am praying for the persecuted but your insightful reality spoke to me.
    Together we are praying for the persecuted.


    Thank you. Despite the turmoil and war, believers can lean on the assurance of peace within, peace with God and one another through Christ’s sacrifice. Eph. 2:14, 15.
    May Christ’s peace be yours in abundance.


    Hi Diane, Today’s Devotional is a realistic reminder that this world in which we live is not getting any better, if anything it will continue to get worse until Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace returns to earth to rule and reign. Thanks for sharing! God bless you.


    Hi Diane:
    Thank you for your inspiring devotional. I found it very thought provoking.
    God bless you. We know our prayers reach the ears of our Creator. Hopefully soon He will bring peace to this very troubled earth.


    Hello
    This rug sounds interesting and what a treasure. It is sad to think war will go on til the end. Thanking God for He is in control and praying for salvations throughout the world before it is too late.
    God bless.


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for the war–> warm devotional. And for reminding us to pray that the God of peace will cause people to choose peace with God through salvation in Jesus Christ and want to be at peace with God and thus know peace with their neighbors near and far. Amen.


    Thank you, Diane, for your devotional today. You have referenced one of my favourite Bible verses which I have hung on to in many a personal conflict, and still do. I like the idea that you are using your Afghan War Rug as a Prayer Rug. I know the world is in turmoil and people are wondering are we at end times. But I know that much more will happen before the end. I trust in God.


    Hi Diane, thanks for your submission today on the Presbyterian devotional site. I found your Afghan rug story very interesting,
    Good that it has become a prayer rug.
    I would love to see the pattern and especially the colours.
    How awesome that you kept it from your friend and didn’t pass it along to the thrift store.
    I would say it has found a good home.
    Blessings.


    What an amazing devotional! Your message really touched my heart! Thank you and God Bless You!


    A great reminder to continue to pray for the hearts of men to changed or be changed by the Holy Spirit.
    (Ontario)


    Diane, thank you for your very thoughtful and pertinent piece on your “Prayer rug.”
    Oh, that Christians and those of other faiths will catch the vision of peace achieved through the values of the Kingdom of God!
    Blessings.


    Good morning, Diane!
    I had never heard of these rugs so I googled them! Absolutely fascinating! Thank you for sharing this information. I certainly do remember the Soviet invasion and those Afghans gave quite a fight forcing the retreat of Russian forces.
    We don’t have any idea the atrocities suffered and makes us be in prayer for them continually!
    Blessings,
    (NV)

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