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Finding stability in a time of war

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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Like a theme-park attraction that simulates an earthquake - floor and walls of a fun house shaking while patrons' legs turn to jelly and stagger until the "earthquake" ends - the world stage now seems to offer only the shakiest footing to all players.

No wonder it appears, at least to some, that most everyone involved - Americans, Iraqis, French, Russians, Turks, and others - has been lurching recklessly, stumbling into one another, causing collisions no one wanted.

A review of what got us to this point may one day make for instructive history. Almost certainly it will fuel the I-told-you-so mills for years to come. Right now, though, the pressing issue is not how we got here but where we go next. And for that we want to search out and lay hold on whatever stability we can grasp and bring to this desperately unstable scene.

If political and military instability triggered unintended harm in the run-up to war, they threaten more damage midwar and postwar. For instance, the US Army chief of staff, looking at the postwar scene, warned that stabilizing Iraq - and this is after it has been defeated - could entail a military presence of 200,000 troops. That doesn't begin to address the instability coming from terrorist cells purportedly fanning out from Iraq. Or the distrust among allies who are trying to let a public face of friendship veil their behind-the-scenes fury.

Yearning for a peace-enhancing step

I'm in no position of political might. I don't even know where the lever is that shuts off the power to the fun house "earthquake." I'm not sure anyone knows. So, I find myself yearning for some peace-enhancing step to take. Again and again I find myself returning to Isaiah, heeding his spiritual insights. "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation" (Isa. 33:6).

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