Washington is abuzz with the sounds of war. The President is prepared to "go it alone" with a pending air strike against Syria while Congress is holding a series of hearings on whether he has the authority to do so. These are the times that try men's souls.
Over the last year and a half, 100,000 people have lost their lives in the civil war in Syria. Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.
Neither our country nor our conscience can afford the cost of silence." If that is true, why did we wait while thousands lost their lives BEFORE the use of chemical weapons?
So far, it appears that America may act unilaterally because, while many nation states have decried the use of chemical weapons, their outrage does not rise to the level of being willing to offer military support. This creates a conundrum for both the President and the America people.
There are multiple issues at play here. Will US involvement be limited to a "shot across the bow" where a message of repudiation is sent to the Assad regime? What good is the message if the despotic leader is not removed? Will the missiles then cause a domino effect where containment will not be limited to Syria but will spill into Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey or perhaps Israel?
The most under reported aspect of this conflict is what is happening to Syrian Christians. Listen to this heartfelt cry from a young believer in Syria:
"I send you this message with tears and a broken heart for Syria. To all of you who live abroad and don't know the situation here, your brothers and sisters in Syria are leaving their houses to flee from the "Syrian free army" and the "Syrian rebels." Every day they shoot Christians and bomb our territories. When America strikes, nothing will stop these criminals, it will be worse. They will enter our territories and kill more Christians and kidnap children and burn them. These people are horrible.
Christians here chose silence and continuous prayer. Our only weapon is prayer. Please pray for us and for your president to make a wise decision. Honestly I cry everyday for my country and for my church in Syria. I pray every day that enough is enough. I can't stand it anymore. Unite with us please. May our prayers lead to miracles here."
A Syrian pastor reported that Islamists have identified a group of Christians as infidels, killed them and hung them on crosses. There is no doubt that if America gets involved, the church in Syria will pay a price.
One Syrian pastor, despite a bleak future, is staying, as he said:
"for the church of Jesus … that the message of Jesus may remain a light guiding those who are lost and afraid.
because the harvest is plentiful … and the suffering is huge … a deep wound, a sense of despair.
to follow in the footsteps of my Master who went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.
because I'm busy in the ministry of saving souls"
In truth, it is very difficult for us, as believers here in the West, to fully comprehend the agony our Christian brothers and sisters must endure during these dark days in Syria. May the Lord grant these dear followers of Christ protection, peace and perseverance for the days ahead.