On Sunday, October 7th, 2001, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the nation’s capital, I dozed off to sleep around 9 or 10 p.m.. Sometime later, as I was fast asleep – this would have been possibly around 11 p.m. or 12 midnight – I was suddenly seized in my spirit, as I saw a bomb exploding. Instantly, I “knew” that armies were moving in. I groaned in my spirit. “Not now,” I said, either inwardly or perhaps even audibly. Then I added, “I’m not ready for this.” I “knew” that we were being attacked. I just wasn’t ready. There was nothing I could do. I felt so helpless. So utterly helpless.
I woke up, and, behold, it had been a dream! But I knew that the Lord was speaking to me. I went downstairs to help my wife, who was cooking, on account of guests that were to arrive today. Yet one more floor below, in the basement, the television was on, tuned to CNN. My wife said to me, “They’ve just attacked (Afghanistan).” I was at that time fully aware that God had already let me in on that. But notice, if you will, that the time difference between my finding out “direct from God” and then moments later via my wife (via CNN) was just that … only moments later. What spiritual significance was gained by my having learned of the events ‘first hand’ as I did that evening? Certainly not much of a time advantage, that’s for sure.
I thought about that a little bit, for God had not shown me the first bomb being dropped on Afghanistan ‘direct’ like that for no reason. There was a purpose behind it! In situations like this, I move from “fact” to “feeling,” for we are very feeling-oriented people. With no information advantage, and virtually no time advantage to my knowing this just moments earlier, there had to be yet another advantage that I had not yet discovered. Indeed, it was the ‘feeling’ advantage, for in a very real way, as I have entitled this article, “I was there when they dropped the bomb.” Note if you will, that I “took” the part of the common Afghani civilian. That was the “position” if you will, that God sovereignly placed me in.
God could have placed me in the position of the offensive (American) forces. I could have been the one who released the bomb. But no, that was not God’s will — no, not at this time. God could have also placed me in the position of the defensive (Taliban) military personel — but no again, God did not will that this should be so at this time. Instead, God clearly willed that I should be as the common Afghani civilian — the person who really knows nothing at all about this war, and doesn’t have a clue in any way, shape, or form, as to what on earth is happening.
All I “knew” from the standpoint of a civilian was that I was not ready or prepared for an attack like this. I was despairing. There was no hope at all. God was not on my side. Nothing was on my side. I had a wife, and three children, one of whom was just one year old. They all brought great joy and pride and a sense of accomplishment to my life. As an Afghani, my life was a simple life. I was a simple laborer, or maybe I was an engineer, just like I am in real life. Either way, I was gainfully employed. And yet now, my hope was gone. These were the very real and dramatic feelings that I experienced “in lieu”, as it were, of an Afghani civilian. They were real, I say! Real!
I woke up, and, yes, it had been a dream. But it really wasn’t a dream, you see. For I was there when they dropped the bomb. I took the place of a common, everyday, just-like-you-and-me, Afghani civilian. I was there, I say. I was there! I felt the pain. I felt the grief. I felt the agony. I felt the despair. I felt the loneliness. I felt the rejection! And there was nothing, I say … nothing … I could do! There was no God that I could turn to (who would really hear me, I knew).
Now, my friend, put your vengeance aside, and weep, and wail, for the Afghani people. These blessed people. My people! I feel like they are mine! Mine! And I want them to know Jesus, and love, and goodness, and kindness, and mercy, and compassion … once again. Now, are you going to pour your heart out for the Afghani people, and cry out on their behalf, or is your blood going to cry out, “Vengeance!”
No, you are not going to cry out for vengeance at a time like this. You are going to plead that Jesus meets these desperate people, and frees them from the clutches of a religion that cannot by any means save them or offer them any true hope of favor with God or of eternal life. Please, pray for the Afghani people!
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)