Psalm 37 and Afghanistan
By *Author's name removed for security | Posted In What Does the Bible Say
When our family lived in Islamabad, Pakistan, before 9/11, our home was five blocks from the Taliban Embassy. I would regularly see men from that embassy, and a sense of profound darkness hung in that area. One day I was face-to-face with a Taliban member. I made the most of the encounter and looked into his eyes. The man’s eyes I looked into held such deep darkness.
I did not feel fear, anger, or resentment. I felt pity and compassion toward him as he looked into my eyes and then turned away. This morning in scriptural meditation and prayer, I thought about that encounter and what has transpired since. I thought about my friends trying to get out of Afghanistan this week who tried three times to go to the airport, waiting in a line for twenty-four hours to get their documents checked. I thought about how they expected to dodge bullets, to have phones confiscated, and to be beaten (which they were) by the Taliban at their checkpoint. I thought about how they eventually got on a plane—but about the thousands who will not and who will endure abuse and tyranny for an unknown time.
Then the Holy Spirit reminded my heart of my anger toward the Taliban. I repented (biblically, that means “turn around”) for the hateful thoughts, and instead began interceding for God to transform the Taliban from darkness to light.
Many of us know Jesus’ words, “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44). But these words can sting in times like these. Still, they ring true.
At times when our emotions seek vengeance, God’s Word comes to the rescue. Here are His words for me this day from Psalm 37:7–11. May God’s Word be our prayer for Afghanistan and the Taliban:
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about the evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.
Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.
Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.
Consider praying this when you think of the Taliban, of Afghanistan, of refugees fleeing the country, and of those who have no choice but to stay.
Assemblies of God World Missions shares the following prayer points for believers in the country and for refugees:
- We urge Christ followers worldwide to stand with our Afghan brothers and sisters through prayer and fasting in the days ahead. Pray with us for the mighty hand of God to shield His people, and for the Holy Spirit to impart supernatural power and peace, assuring Afghan believers that they are not forsaken.
- Pray also that in the face of terror, trauma, and every other distress, the Lord will preserve the faith of His people, whether they are still inside the country, or whether they are refugees. May their spirits and emotions be ministered to by the direct presence of Jesus. These are our brothers and sisters, and they desperately need our love and prayers.
- Refugees and migrants risk exploitation, abuse, violence, deprivation, and discrimination as they flee from situations of death and destruction, fearing for their lives and believing there is something better in another place. Many are left with physical and mental scars or are detained or pushed back from border crossings. Their dignity was trampled on at many different levels. Upon arrival somewhere else, they have no idea what will meet them after their perilous journey. They have no expectation of kindness or respect. How surprising it is when they are greeted by Christ-followers. How encouraging it must be that someone is interested in hearing their story and simply being present. Who better to restore dignity to those who have been mistreated than the body of Christ? Pray that many more Christians will welcome refugees and migrants to all the places they are forced to scatter.