When I look at conflicts in the world it is hard to read newspapers and understand what is really going on. Talking with people directly from the region doesn’t help, I still do not see the heart of the true conflict. I do not believe that going to the area will help! Conflicts, anger, and frustration all reflect a loss of hope. This is a gift people often lose in their lives and it is hard to replace! Searching for the root cause is often like trying to read tea leaves; there are a lot of different shapes, sizes, and shades but little information!
While I know this is true when I look at war, politics, and what constitutes workplace success, I wonder if the difficulty in reading tea leaves extends to every aspect of life. Is it possible to know that one is loved? Much of the evidence that the world offers up would suggest that one cannot know but my experience tells me otherwise. Can one have peace in the midst of the turmoil that swirls around us all? Again, there is far too much evidence to even consider challenging the automatic answer. Yet, the lives of some who live with extreme pain tell a far different story. Do we understand the message of God’s prayer in Revelation? Not always and not yet completely however there are certain parts that are clear to those willing to listen.
“Another horse appeared, this one red. Its rider was off to take peace from the earth, setting people at each other’s throats, killing one another. He was given a huge sword.” (Revelation 6.4)
Who and what is this rider? Is there an external force that is responsible for relational conflicts that plague us all?
We may not know the rider’s exact name yet the heart of the rider is clear. Selfishness rides on the back of this horse. Jealousy, arrogance, and pride are all part of the rider’s name. The only antidote is unending love, acceptance, and mercy. Hope versus despair; the choice is our leaves.