Hello. I’m Gary Kent.
I had planned to be, at this time, in Israel, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, and filming more great content for The Incredible Journey. Then we started to receive news of the massive terrorist attack against Israel, and Israel’s mobilisation for war. I had to make a quick decision whether to travel to Israel or stay in the safety of Australia, and I chose to stay here.
I’m glad I did.
I love the land of Israel. It is the land of the patriarchs and the prophets. But most of all, I love the land of Israel because it is the land in which the Saviour walked. Israel is a land that Jesus loved.
But Israel is also a land that has been fought over for millennia. Jerusalem has often been the storm centre of regional wars, and even global conflict. Perhaps Jesus had all this in mind when standing on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city and its temple, he wept and cried out,
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing (Matt. 23:37).
The geopolitical situation today teeters on the verge of absolute chaos and disaster. The nations are posturing for what could be a long and bloody war. In Australia, where I am, the impact might be felt the most in what we pay for fuel and food. But that is nothing compared with what Israel and its neighbours may face.
There are many Christians today whose understanding of prophecy leads them to see a war between Israel and its neighbours as the fulfilment of end-time prophecy. My reading of the Bible leads me to believe that the final conflict will be bigger than just one war. The times ahead are much worse than people might think.
Am I trying to scare you? Not at all. We Christians are not pessimists, but realistic optimists. We are people who understand the trajectory of this world, and who understand that our ultimate future will always be brighter than our past, and that anxiety, fear, and war will one day soon cease to exist because the victory of God is assured.
As you look around you, that might seem incredible. Indeed the world is on an incredible journey, with an incredible plot twist. What you see is not the ultimate reality. What is is not what will be.
But it is because of the One who loved the land of Israel, who so loved the world, and because He has won the victory, that we know how the story ends. We might not know all the twists and turns along the way, but we know what the final scene is. It has already been written in blood and victory at the Cross. As Christians, we look forward with all hearts to that final scene: the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The reality is that there are many Christians throughout history whose faith has been motivated by fear. Typically, this has been fear of the world around them, and even fear of end-time events.
There is no place for fear in the life of the Christian. The apostle John tells us that,
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
When Jesus tells us so often in the Bible, “Don’t be afraid,” he is telling us this precisely because he knows the troubles that we will face. He knows that we are weak, and that we will in fact, be afraid at times. Yet fear is not to dominate our lives. Instead, love is to rule our lives, as well as peace and joy.
Where can we find this love, this joy, this peace? We can find it in the words of Jesus. He said to us,
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
That’s what it means to be a realistic optimist. It means that we can weep for the suffering that there is in the world, but not be destroyed by it. It means that we can experience loss and grief but not be defined by it.
But we aren’t just spectators in the world. Jesus commanded us to “go into all the world” and share the truth with those who need to hear it.
Right now, even in your own community, there are many people who are anxious and fearful, wondering what is to befall the world. I would encourage you, especially at this time, to consider joining us and supporting our work here at the Incredible Journey, as we share hope with people through the media.
The light shines brightest in the darkness. Help us share the Light.
Dear Heavenly Father, Our world is witnessing war again in the Holy Land. Once more, all eyes are on Israel. We pray for Jerusalem. May those who You love be secure. We pray with the relatives of the victims, and we pray for all those who are experiencing hours of terror and anguish. We pray for the peoples of the region and pray for peace. In particular, we pray for the safety of all civilians — whether residents or tourists and pilgrims — and we pray for a cessation of violence and the release of all hostages. Come Lord Jesus, come. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.