By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
We as Athenians, Alabamians, and Americans are in an inarguably tough, tough time. I have to be extremely cautious about how much news to watch regarding what is going on in Afghanistan. If I don’t, I get so mad that I am afraid that I am going to make life so hard on my guardian angels that they have to go in to counseling. And, I can get so sad that I am no good to anyone, including myself.
The temptation to give in, give up, and resort to what I call spiritual hand wringing is just as strong for me as the next shlub, but this is no time for that. I also am quite capable of yelling about the abandonment of Americans and Afghanis, a ludicrous lack of leadership, criminal levels of corruption, and a style of self-serving narrative while supposedly comforting the bereaved that is staggering in its self-focus.
But I have chosen to expend my energies on two fronts: faith and focused fellowship. I’ll explain. I know from having been a believer for over 50 years that prayer, both individual and with others, works. And there is nothing better at getting our attention than things that make us feel what we are as humans — weak.
I recently received a call and voice mail from a remarkable woman of faith from another state who has 45 grandchildren. She is a scrappy granny and is deeply invested in being there for her sizable tribe. The first thing that came out of her mouth was that she wanted to know if I was in Afghanistan. I told her, “I would be if I could be,” and I know from having spoken to vets who served in the Great Sandbox that they would be there to help if they could, too. But, wait. There is a way that I can be, and so can you. I can “go there” on my knees. You might be tempted to ask, “What good is that going to do? Is the Taliban somehow going to start playing nice?” Nope. But here is something you need to know about what is going on the Middle East. By the thousands, natives to the region are having dreams and visions of Isa (pronounced EEE-sa in Arabic) and are surrendering to His plans, even if that means losing their life on this side and waking up moments later in His presence. In addition, there is a youth revival going on about which more than likely you are not aware. I realize that if you are someone who thinks that all of life is confined to this realm that is going to sound straight up stupid, and that’s okay.
But if you hold that position, then you need to, more than ever, be willing to thank a vet for the fact that your right to think and express your opinion that I am stupid at best and dangerous at worst is protected. Because, trust me, if you at this moment were in Afghanistan, and you let anybody know your thoughts, your head might be held up for all to see over the wall at the airport.
Whether you choose to set aside time to “go there” or not, remember this: warfare prayer is not for the faint of heart, and the only One whose heart is strong enough to help you through whatever it is you are facing is the same one who gave Himself for you. Give Him your time, and no matter what, don’t wring your hands. You were made to be better than that.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner