While browsing through the news site, cnn.com, I came across a link entitled, “Photos of a Slow Motion Civil War.” I knew it was of the ongoing conflict in Syria where freedom fighters are waging a fight to oust their President. I had an inkling that this would be photos of the casualties of war. I was right.
As a photographer myself, I braced myself at the expectation of seeing graphic images. True enough, almost 85% of the photos contained images of the collateral damage to human life. It was sad. And sickening. It was also frightening. Even though the battles are happening half way around the world, you cannot but imagine if it happened here, in my beloved country of the Philippines.
I was born into a period when there was and continue to have relative peace. Yes, there was martial law, the secessionist rebellion in Mindanao, the EDSA revolution but they are nothing compared to what is happening in Syria. People are living in constant fear for their lives as you will see in the pictures. It is literally a nightmare.
I keep seeing the bodies of dead children, brothers, fathers, friends. Loved ones are mourning the terrible losses. Homes and property are destroyed. Residents flee their homes to live in tents in the borders. Food and water are scarce. Yet, the fighting continues.
Jesus in the Gospels foretold such events, in Matthew 24 and Luke 9. Jesus says that things like these will happen leading up to the end of the times. Jesus encourages us to not be frightened and that when these things happen, they are not yet the end of the times. There will be more.
Yes, it sounds frightening. I must admit, it is. The only thing that strengthens is the thought that Jesus loves me and that He has everything worked out for those who love Him. Jesus said that to those who will endure to the end will be saved. Saved from what? Since this is still in the future (near?) I guess saved from hardships, intense persecution, etc. If Jesus went through “hell” before dying on the cross, can we count ourselves out from the same? Many will hope so. I hope it does happen.
But what if you are the one in the pictures holding a dead loved one due to war. Will you still believe in Jesus and in His promise to return, take us from this world and bring us to His kingdom? I fervently pray that you, even we, do not have to undergo such trials. But if we do, let us pray that we will be able to endure to the end and be saved.