Is there any hope for peace in our war-weary world?
In a world where violence is the norm, will there ever be peace?
The headlines scream of the carnage unfolding in Syria, with allegations of the use of poison gas by the Bashar al-Assad regime. While the United Nations makes empty pronouncements and the major powers hurl hollow threats of intervention, people on both sides of the conflict die in increasing numbers.
In the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad, car bombs are detonated, as Sunni and Shiite factions tear at each other in a protracted power struggle. Even though the war is “over” and the troops from the United States and the coalition that toppled Saddam Hussein have withdrawn, peace is still elusive.
Meanwhile, the Taliban continue to wreak havoc in Afghanistan, where a corrupt government clings to power while the United States, with a whimper, begins withdrawing at the end of its longest war. Mosques are bombed, leaving worshippers murdered or maimed as they gather to pray. Young girls and women are oppressed and abused as Sharia law is imposed.
In Gaza, Palestinian rockets are regularly lobbed into the little nation of Israel, which retaliates with deadly ferocity. These skirmishes serve as a constant reminder of the centuries-old conflict for this hotly contested area that has played such a prominent role in history down through the ages.
Yet not all of the hot spots are in the Middle East. North Korea, described by experts as the most repressive regime on the planet, rattles its nuclear sword and makes outrageous threats of war with South Korea and the United States. With the largest standing army in modern times led by a young and unproven leader, North Korea is a constant, volatile threat.
Violence is just under the surface in Chechnya, with its ongoing conflict with Russia. Islamic extremists also flare up frequently in the Philippines, and the age-old feud in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics breaks out from time to time.
South of the U.S. border, in Mexico, the equivalent of a bloody civil war is raging as the drug cartels resist government intervention and vie for dominance and control. The violence occasionally spills across the border into the United States, which is very unsettling to the border states.
In the United States, homemade bombs were detonated in a crowd of spectators at the Boston Marathon, killing innocent people and inflicting terrible injuries on dozens more. It is a stark reminder that terrorism is very real threat.
Pondering these intractable armed conflicts around the world resulting from ideological, nationalistic and internecine differences is enough to boggle the mind. These conditions vividly illustrate the poignant line in William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” Yes, “the dogs of war” are on the loose, wreaking havoc wherever they can.
Mankind throughout history has been more often engaged in war with all its horrors, than enjoying brief respites of peace. Truly the prophet Isaiah stated it correctly when he was inspired to write, “The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
Jesus Christ plainly told His disciples to expect these conditions, when He said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled…” (Matthew 24:6). But notice, He said, “see that you are not troubled.” These words apply to those who understand that this age is coming to an end, and that Jesus Christ will return in great power and glory to silence the “dogs of war.” In doing so, He will usher in a thousand years of peace and plenty for a war-weary world.