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Viewpoint

In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?

“Viewpoint” allows the expression on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say.

Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders. 

American “Can’t Fix” the Mideast

View Point

Change is painfully and wonderfully slow

By Nikolas Grosfield

The Washington Post recently published an article about Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s views on the Middle East. First, Clapper thinks resolving problems in the Middle East should be a multinational effort. He wants “to improve intelligence coordination and information sharing” with other countries. Second, he says America is defeating the Islamic State—“They’ve lost a lot of territory. We’re killing a lot of their fighters”—but the end is still unseen: “We’ll be in a perpetual state of suppression for a long time.” Third, Clapper notes various social, political, economic, and arms problems in the Middle East; then opines: “I don’t have an answer. The U.S. can’t fix it.”

The director is probably right. In fact, the troubles in the region go far beyond what he identified. One is determining just how big the Middle East is. Is it the area represented by the 22 nations of the League of Arab States—which includes ten countries all over Africa and excludes such states as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan? According to the CIA World Factbook, Egypt is out, but Israel and Armenia are in. If Merriam Webster is right, the region extends from Libya to Afghanistan. And some people might use “Middle East” and “Muslim-majority” nations interchangeably, which can include places like Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Whatever the boundaries, the Middle East is home to hundreds of millions of people. They have immensely variant backgrounds and goals: religious, sectarian, tribal, linguistic, racial, national, partisan, cultural, historical, and geographical differences abound—not to mention current wars, terrorism, corruption, illiteracy, and demagoguery.

But are these complications too great to be overcome? Or has the world never seen their like?

No doubt money and military might from a superpower like the United States can go a long way toward helping the region. And if allies—and especially some Middle Eastern states—cooperate, many problems can be contained in a group effort. But governments can ease and appease, while never actually producing long-term heart change in their citizens, let alone in the people of other lands.

One-on-one encounters and relationships are needed. Horizontally, Westerners and the people of the Middle East can build bridges toward each other. Middle Easterners can build bridges among themselves, too. But more importantly, vertical submission to Christ is the real way to truly “fix” the Middle East. Christians (and Muslims) who put less stock in politics, guns, and wallets—and who trust more in the God of the Bible—can prayerfully and lovingly effect lasting change in the Middle East.

Befriending Middle Easterners can have the following benefits: a) you discover that the region is only frightful sometimes and in some places, not always and everywhere as pundits or politicians imply; b) you can learn and be blessed at least as much as you teach and bless; c) you realize just how many Christians and not-yet Christians live in the region. Consider the following anecdotes about a few of my friends from the Middle East—where I visited nine nations and lived for more than four years:

God is at work in hearts throughout the Middle East. He hears the prayers of His people for that part of the world. And His people there may just be praying for you, too.

Nikolas Grosfield is a writer and rancher from Montana. He has written 160 articles for various media sources, spent five years in the Middle East and East Africa, and earned a B.A. in History from Cedarville University. Nik is a child of God, Elsbeth’s husband, and Ole’s daddy.




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