No one today can be unaware of the gathering tension and accompanying uncertainties that are ramping up in the Middle East, whose ripple effects are being felt right across the world – of which the thoroughly unpleasant scenes in Tehran of crowds of inflamed people burning flags and chanting death to America is a potent symbol. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the nuclear deal with Iran, may the Lord protect against the power of this sustained cursing.
When I returned home a couple of nights ago from my retreat (after a lot of lovely catching up with Ros) I watched a remarkable extended report on Sky news concerning the huge influence that Iran is now exercising inside Iraq, primarily on the Shia majority. It was extremely eye opening. In this news report I learnt that Iran, with the help of the Iraqi military, has established an entirely new land route to be able to transport arms swiftly from Tehran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.*
Iran has long been stoking and stirring hostilities in the Middle East by supplying Hezbollah with vast quantities of advanced weaponry, effectively making Iran proxy for action against Israel. By some counts, Hezbollah possesses a staggering 150,000 rockets. As you will have seen, Israel has already begun launching multiple attacks on airfields in Syria and on depots through which Iran supplies Hezbollah. Prayer warriors in Israel at the moment are optimistic that although there are obvious risks that this could escalate into to a far more deadly and more wide-scale conflict than the month long war of 2006 that was centred on Lebanon, the likelihood of an all-out war with Iran is still not that high. The Israelis are hailing their multiple attacks against the Iranian military presence in Syria as a complete success. See this report from the Jerusalem Post.
Pray for all who are involved in this on going situation: diplomats, military and political leaders, and, of course, all those civilians who are affected and who have to take regularly to their bomb shelters with all the emotional and physical upset that this causes.
Let’s not for one minute forget how precious the Iranian people are to God. Again and again we hear reports of God touching people in that land in quite remarkable ways. E.g. Testimonies of Iranian converts.
The Lord so much wants to reach the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in Lebanon and the camps in Turkey and Jordan too. (See this account of some friend’s visit to Jordan)
It was delightful when a large family of Syrians came to the farm where I was staying. It was a joy to see the children running round and playing with great smiles on their faces. During their first full year in Britain this was the first time they had been invited to come to a family home for a meal, as opposed to having occasional events laid on for them.
* That article in late 2016, in The Guardian, began to explain the process; this one from Reuters brings matters more up to date.