It is frequently said that truth is the first casualty of war.
Combatants employ a wide range of tactics and strategies to deceive
their enemies. Evidence that appears to be valid may turn out to be
untrustworthy, and crucial evidence may be missing.
As the international community seeks incontrovertible evidence
about who perpetrated the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria
(and why), there are claims and counter-claims from different sides.
Action based on ill-founded judgment could escalate a dangerous
When the world is facing difficult issues, I find inspiration in
the Bible. At a time when the Pharisees were angry with Christ Jesus
and seeking to trap him, he counseled his followers, saying,
"[T]here is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither
hid, that shall not be known" (Luke 12:2). Here is calm assurance
that an all-knowing God can reveal what we need to know in order to
judge wisely and proceed safely. Prayer along these lines can bring
invaluable guidance in times of war.
An example of the application of such prayer was described to me
and others by Peter J. Henniker-Heaton, who was a contributor to the
Christian Science periodicals throughout World War II and beyond. In
the opening months of the war, the shipping in British coastal
waters suffered heavy losses from German mines. London was the
busiest port, and more than 100 ships were destroyed in the Thames
There was an urgent need to uncover and defuse a mine to
understand its mechanism. Many people must have been praying at this
time. Mr. Henniker-Heaton was one of a team of Christian Scientists
who prayed continually about this situation, acknowledging the power
of an all-knowing, all-loving, and ever-present God, to uncover any
evil. Subsequently, in November 1939, German aircraft were observed
dropping mines offshore in a place where they could be uncovered as
the tide receded. One was retrieved and found to operate by magnetic
influence. That is, it was not a visible mine floating on the
surface but one that lay unseen on the seabed until activated by a
ship passing nearby. Given this understanding of the mechanism,
ships were then protected by wrapping electric cables around their
metal hulls to protect them by disrupting the magnetic field.
The ability of an all-knowing God to uncover evil is not
restricted to finding and interpreting the role of physical objects
but extends to uncovering and neutralizing the influence of harmful
thoughts. Luke's Gospel continues: "Therefore whatsoever ye have
spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light" (12:3).
This reminds me that when the kings of Israel and Syria were
involved in a war in biblical times, the Israelites were saved from
Syrian ambush several times because the prophet Elisha warned them
not to go there (see II Kings 6:8-12). …