Peace to see

Psalm 20

I remember when the first stealth bomber made its public appearance. It was hard for a teenage boy to not be in awe of it. In Operation Desert Storm it recorded zero losses and battle damage. Lockheed Martin Corporation said the jet “changed the question from, ‘How many aircraft are needed to take out a target?’ to, ‘How many targets can be taken out with a single aircraft?’” And it was undetectable!

On December 2, 2022, the Pentagon introduced the country’s new stealth bomber. The B-21 Raider looks to be a great technological accomplishment for our military. Our hope is it will help us ward off nuclear threats from enemy countries. I couldn’t help but read more about it. Maybe I was just as intrigued as I was when I was a teenager.

But, this time around, I also thought of something I didn’t know about then.

President Eisenhower addressed the nation for the final time in 1961. Part of his farewell address included a warning about the “military-industrial complex.” This is a cozy relationship between governments and the defense industry. It’s a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-your-back system of determining policy decisions and supply demands. The president recognized “the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power” such a complex might drive us toward.

He also understood there were “economic, political, even spiritual” implications at play. And therein lies the tension many Christians struggle with. How does the military-industrial complex relate to, for example, Psalm 20:7? Some take pride in chariots and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

Most of us would affirm such a passage. But how do we faithfully reconcile our awe at “shock and awe” and stealth bombers with our following of the Prince of Peace? Can we? The psalmist trusted his king wanted God’s will. So, he prayed for his victory. He asked that God would fulfill all his plans.

Are we to assume our nation and leaders want God’s will? Are working for true peace and justice?

What does our acceptance of the truth that “they’ve got money for war but can’t feed the poor” say about our true pride and purpose as God’s people?

I’m not sure there are easy answers. But may the start of a new year give us courage to seek godly wisdom in all we do as believers and the church. And may true peace be our nation’s desire.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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