One good thing about staying on the road so much — or engulfed in the relative peace of camp meeting—is that I remain somewhat isolated from the bad things in the news. I haven’t read a word about an apartment fire or a drive-by shooting in months — or Presbo’s approval rating. I haven’t even noticed whether the price of gasoline is rising or falling. I’ve been just like an ostrich with his head stuck firmly in the sand — or under his wing, if you want to get technical. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
But sometimes something happens so vile and vicious that it breaks through the very fog of my unawareness and makes itself known. Such was the case Thursday when I first got an inkling that a Malaysian passenger jet had crashed — or something. By the time I secured a copy of Friday morning’s newspaper there had been a determination that the plane had been “blown out of the sky,” with 298 souls on board.
We live in a dangerous world that is growing more and more dangerous by the minute. There are areas of American cities that I wouldn’t consider walking alone or unarmed in, no matter the time of day. It is just sad that a part of society places such little value on human life that random killings are everyday occurrences.
In Africa young girls are being kidnapped daily and sold as sex slaves and Christians are being persecuted more widely than at any other time this century. I don’t mean they can’t put up a nativity at Christmas. I mean that they are being murdered because of their confessed faith in Jesus Christ.
In the Middle East Israel and Hamas have been firing rockets and missiles at one another on a daily basis for a couple of weeks now. I was in Israel in March and actually saw the bright flash from missiles fired into the desert light up the night sky. I thought it was “heat lightning” until our guide told me otherwise. He also assured me that those missiles were intentionally fired into unoccupied areas simply to make a statement.
The missiles that are now being hurled back and forth are more than a statement, I believe. That still will not deter me from returning to the Holy Land next year.
We are still waging war in Afghanistan, even though the nation has long ago wearied of that struggle. North Korea is constantly flexing her muscles in an effort to intimidate South Korea and the west. Russia has long shown signs of her former soviet aggression and the Ukraine has burned while Nero has fiddled and now almost 300 innocent civilians have become the latest victims of a world gone mad.
We have confirmed that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, something we weren’t willing to admit after TWA Flight 800 exploded over New York waters, 18 years ago to the day before the latest Malaysian airliner was destroyed. With all our sophisticated gadgetry, we cannot determine from whence the missile was fired.
The plane crashed and burned in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border and Ukrainian officials have called it an act of terrorism. They blame the Russians and the Russians blame the Ukrainian rebels. So far no one has stepped forward to say, “Oh, yes. We did that!”
This act of course, closely follows the mysterious disappearance of another Malaysian airliner last March.
We will analyze and shake our heads — and perhaps our fists — and hope and pray that the violence that has become so prevalent around the world will at least decline. Few dare hope that it will ever dissipate completely. Meanwhile, in our cities, in the Middle East, and in Malaysia, and everywhere else these senseless acts are occurring, friends and family members will mourn the loss of innocent life and ask themselves the same thing the poets of American folk music were asking themselves back in the 1960s.
“How many times must the cannon balls fly, before they are forever banned?
“How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?
“How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows, that too many people have died?
“The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind.”
Here’s hoping the winds change soon — and blow in a more peaceful direction.