Within the Olivet Discourse, our Lord mentioned something that often is missed when this portion of Scripture is read. He noted,
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6 – NKJV)
War! A most sobering matter, is it not? War! The effect it can have on a world, on a nation, on an individual. As Jesus stated so it has been, for we know of “wars” gone by, existing “wars,” and even more “wars” to come. In this day in which you and I live we pray for peace, desiring it greatly while knowing that “wars and rumors of wars” will continue to plague the world we live in.
The effect of war . . . oh the horror of it! What it can do to a person . . . oh the horror of it! And that is my concern here as I write, “what it can do to a person.”
I remember as a very young boy sitting at the dining room table in my grandparent’s house. The old house with the old furniture. The table was so very large to a young boy. But often I was able to sit at that table and listen intently to my grandfather tell of the horrors he experienced as a foot-soldier during World War I. He would speak as if I was just a buffer, an object he could bounce his thoughts off of as he seemed to be able to bring to the forefront of his mind the fears and terrible carnage he witnessed on the battlefields of Europe. Every now and then it would seem he took actual notice of me and then he would speak to me out of what seemed to be an effort to get me to understand just how terrible war is. My grandfather was one of the few to actually take part in the many allied offenses against the Germans. The scars of war were very deeply entrenched in his mind . . . and he would never be able to escape their presence.
My uncle, one of three brothers, served with Patton’s 3rd Army in Europe during World War II. He was wounded in battle, serving his country faithfully but being one of so very many who would never be the same after experiencing the horror of war.
My dad served with his brother on the same destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. As best as I can recall, he mentioned, but never really talked about at length, an attack where he was wounded. He would survive, but for the remainder of his life he would suffer from severe headaches, headaches that, as a boy, I remember him crying out in pain from. My dad never talked about his war experiences very much but they surely were evident in his everyday person. They manifested themselves through a hardened demeanor, a father who was distant and could be so very cold. My mom told me that, “after the war he was never the same person.”
I have stories now, as all these men I have mentioned have since passed on, and I sort through them in my latter days, stories of the horrors of war. And now as a man I can look back and understand to some degree just how powerful the effects of war can be on a man.
Jesus, by His proclamation of “wars and rumors of wars” should be words that cause us to soberly pause . . . especially for anyone who has had some kind of experience with the horrors of it, of the devastating effects it can have on mankind. Without a doubt, if you take the words of Jesus literally, He warned us . . .
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”
And that, for a Christian, is not hopeless, for we know the Prince of Peace is coming . . . but surely it is bothersome, especially to those who have seen its terrible effects. Sad it is, but so very true . . . that you and I “will hear” and possibly see such “wars,” for fallen men are given over to it . . . and as we “hear” of them and see them come we will say amongst ourselves . . . “Oh the horror of it!”
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