|(Poppies by Laura Goodsell on Unsplash)|
A place to begin to answer that question is to discover why there is fighting in the first place, and to do that the best thing to do is look into your own heart. What you see there is conflict, jealousy, greed, mistrust or even hatred of others, and self-centredness that pushes others away, to name but a few. Those are the ingredients that start wars and they are right there in your own heart. A war is just a larger version of what you and I are capable of as individuals. Wars start because sinful people take their sinful desires to extremes. So if God is going to stop wars he has to stop us all from sinning, and how is he going to do that?
One option for God would be to stop all sinful actions before they take place. Just think of the level of control that would involve—if you have seen the film “Minority Report” you will know how crushing that is. Alternatively, God could turn us into mindless robots who obey him unquestioningly. That would work; at least, there would be no wars!
But God’s method is to change the human heart. In the gospel of Jesus we learn that Jesus died for sins, not merely to remove sin’s guilt before God, but also to overcome sin’s power. When someone believes in Jesus they are given a new nature. The sinful flesh dies with Christ and a new person rises with Christ. This does not mean that we are immune to sin; it is still there with us. But we have a new nature, motivation and power to resist sin and live the way God wants. And because our hearts are being renewed, we look ahead to a day when we no longer want to sin, when our hearts have been completely renewed. And we long to see the place where we see God and there is no more death, mourning, crying or pain, and where nation no longer takes up arms against nation. That’s heaven. You don’t need me to tell you that we are not there yet. Conflict and wars will sadly continue until that day, but the day is coming when God will reign, peace will break out and wars will end.
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.