Is war inevitable?

We hear the incessant beating of the drums of war. Soldiers are oiling their muskets and sharpening their bayonets. Wagonloads of equipment and ammunition are being shipped to forward staging areas. Maps are studied. Invasion plans are being prepared.

Debates about war are conducted and resolutions passed. Our national leaders are beating their chests. The question is when, not if. War seems inevitable. But is it?

As our nation moves closer to war with Iraq, the Biblical story of Joshua and the siege of Jericho comes to mind. Like most children who attended Sunday School, this story fascinated me.

According to the Bible, the Lord promised Joshua that the walls of Jericho would fall if he took certain steps. His men of war and seven priests blowing trumpets were to circle Jericho for six days.

On the seventh day, the priests were to circle Jericho seven additional times, blow their trumpets, and all the people were to shout in unison. Then the city’s walls would fall. Joshua complied with the Lord’s direction, the walls of Jericho fells as promised and the city was left defenseless and open for defeat.

I don’t expect a literal duplication of the events of this story, with the walls of Baghdad tumbling down at a propitious moment, enabling our soldiers to march untouched into the Iraqi capital.

But I believe that a figurative falling of the walls is not beyond the power of prayer. After all, Saddam Hussein’s control over the people of Iraq is based totally on fear. Could there be a nation with a shakier foundation? Could there be a nation any riper for the walls of fear to dissipate and disappear, thus bringing a peaceable end to Hussein’s reign of terror?

Few of us are participating in the current preparations for war. Does that mean that people of faith should sit idly while our country prepares for war? Should we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by our own fears, aghast at the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction? Should we wish for Hussein’s death? The answers, of course, are no.

People of faith have the obligation to pray fervently that the walls of fear in Iraq will fall, leaving that country open for and welcoming of peaceful and lasting change.

“It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one mind, one God and father, one life, truth and love,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, in her textbook, Science and Health with the Key to the Scriptures.

“Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this face becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established.”

Mrs. Eddy’s words are pertinent to the situation with Iraq. They apply to all world trouble spots. They promise the disappearance of the walls of hatred, fear, persecution and tyranny and the establishment of a world governed by God.