For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Some of us grew up during the Cold War. That period after World War II until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. It was a time of fear and tension. During the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), it seemed sure that Khrushchev or Kennedy would resort to a nuclear response. In school, we practiced "duck and cover" drills in the case of such an attack. (As if hiding under a desk would do any good!) Living in terror, our system of government taught us their system of government was evil. These two systems propagated hatred of each other. With the recent aggressive actions in Ukraine and statements by Putin, these fears are being reignited.
Today's verse reminds us that our struggles aren't against people. Regardless of country of origin, most people desire the same things: food, water, clothing, sleep, and shelter. It is the structures created by man with all their flaws that are the problem; systems founded on divisiveness, inequality, injustice, fear, hate, and greed–in short, those things that are not godly. Our actions delight Satan because he doesn't need to do much; he can sit back and take pleasure in watching us tear ourselves apart.
This is the good news; there is a power more potent than any ruler or authority on earth or hell, and that is God. It is only in God we can trust, not a nation, political system, or political party. Our deliverance comes In faithfully following his commandments; we can overcome evil in all its forms by not only hearing and believing but, in doing, by putting into practice the example of Jesus Christ. To love the Lord our God with our whole hearts and to love everyone as we love ourselves.
Precious God of peace, we give you thanks for your grace. Your perfect love conquers all evil. We confess we do not always act with pure hearts but in self-interest and bias. As we hear the world's news today, help us not become filled with fear and dread but find peace in your promise. Help us to respond to the powers of evil with your love. To extend our open arms to all in this hurting world and share the good news and love of Jesus Christ. Amen.