Ben Ali of Tunisia steps down. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt steps down. But wait.... Hezbollah take over Lebanon. Hamas gain control of Gaza (old news). The Muslim Brotherhood grows in strength. What do we make of the recent political events in the Middle East – and the ones that will come soon?
I did a radio interview yesterday with NPR and here’s what I said: A helpful, even though simplistic, paradigm to view the Middle Eastern political situation is this – there are pro-Western and pro-Eastern forces in each of these countries. Mubarak was pro-western, but totally corrupt. Fatah (Arafat’s old party) was pro-Western, but totally corrupt. Harriri in Lebanon was pro-Western, but totally corrupt. The Royal family of Saudi is pro-Western, but....you get the idea. So when the people have a say, they will overthrow the governments that are stealing their money and elect a more Islamic and pro-Eastern government. (Pro-Eastern could mean pro Syria or Iran or pro Brotherhood or Hamas).
So you might be wondering why has US foreign policy backed these corrupt governments in the Middle East? One reason with two points: they tend to provide stability! Which does two things – it allows us to extract the black gold we need to live on and the stability decreases the threats to Israel.
The next question would be - What drives US foreign policy in the Middle East? Stability. For our oil and for our friend – Israel. Is that good or bad? I don’t know – it just is. But when the people in these Arab countries have their say, they will likely ignore these US concerns. Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood will, in fact, have more say in these countries. And then we will need to think about how to deal with that.
Like me, you are probably NOT a politician. We are simple citizens seeking to follow the way of Jesus in humility and grace. We are citizens of his Kingdom… the Cross, the power of yeast, a pearl hidden in an oyster, buried treasure… The way of the Kingdom is seldom reflected in political overthrows and such. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t rejoice for Egyptians – we should. But we can’t be distracted by what’s happening there thinking that it necessarily reflects the Kingdom of God in that land.
Please join with me in praying for the church – the hands and feet of Jesus – in these countries. That they would have power and grace and truth. That the visible we are seeing on our TV’s would translate to the spread of God’s invisible Kingdom.
Thanks for your partnership,
PS I will share two stories with you from the National Prayer Breakfast on my blog:www.carlmedearis.com/blog
. Feel free to share them with others.