Violent extremists are taking ground in Syria and Iraq, factional fighting has broken out in Burundi, Yemen is divided, Libya’s in anarchy and the people of the Ukraine are still serenaded by gunfire. As conflicts continue across the world, the refugee count grows and we bear witness to thousands of people willing to risk drowning for the chance of escaping the situations they leave behind.

I begin to feel weary, watching this apparently unyielding storm of anger, violence and suffering. I can’t imagine a solution and it feels better not to look. I harden my heart to the devastation and allow myself to be more pleasantly distracted.

If I’m honest though, my main problem is that every story of need seems to whisper a quiet affirmation of my own inadequacy to help. Watching as conflicts rage on, it can seem naïve to hope for peace.

So I learn that I am small and the world is big; that I am only one person and cannot change anything.

No. Wait. The world was the same size when Jesus was alive. Jesus was one man and he changed everything.

A few years ago the poet Aberjhani wrote this:

“Peace ends with the unravelling of individual hope and the emergence of the will to worship violence as a healer of private and social disease.”[1]

When I see the unravelling of individual hope it is easier to avert my eyes from all the ways humanity is putting their trust in violence. But it appears violence is a poor healer. Scripture speaks of Jesus as the binder of wounds, the healer of nations and the one who has reconciled all things.

Giving in to weariness diminishes my faith and capacity to hope in an eternity of peace. To look away is to turn from the extended hand of Jesus inviting us to join in his ministry of reconciliation.

The question is: do we dare to believe that he can really use us?


As we gaze on our tired and war-torn world, there is reason for such hope. Into every situation of conflict that now seems intractable, laced with pain, fear and violence, to there and beyond is the measure to which Jesus has gone, to bring the offer of peace, of reconciliation and restoration.

So I don’t want to lessen my faith by turning away. I want to understand more of the fullness of his promise to answer every instance of war. I will contend for hope and tell of an alternative one to worship as a healer of the dis-ease of people and nations.

Perhaps you’ll join me.

Lisa will be speaking about the interconnectedness of global conflict at Conflict, Peace and Us ; an event hosted by CHIPS, Rhythms and threads on Wednesday, 10 June. Head this way to register for free tickets.

[1] From essay, “February 15, 2003: The History that Peace Made” published in The American Poet Who Went Home Again (2008) Creative Thinkers Intl: New York

photo credit: IMG_6030 via photopin (license)

Written by Lisa Whitten

Lisa is currently working on her Masters in Comparative Ethnic Conflict at Queen's University, Belfast, having worked previously for an MP.

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