The war in Afghanistan cost Americans a great deal. Over 6,000 US soldiers and contractors who had wanted to do something good lost their lives. Over 800,000 service men and women invested years of their lives in Afghanistan. Of these, more than 20,000 received injuries many severe and life changing. Families grieve due to the loss or suffering of their loved ones. Afghans who sided with Americans by necessity or hoping for a better life now face an uncertain if not catastrophic future. Most of the suffering is due to poor decisions or self-interest of authorities.
I understand feeling of deep loss and frustration. I’ve expended intense effort, invested time and money, and made great personal sacrifices only to see ministry initiatives intended for good ultimately fail due to authorities. Perhaps you have as well. Maybe you poured your heart into a church only to see it languish or even disintegrate.
Kit and I have learned to apply a principle I call “integrate-under-the-curve” after such failures. For those not conversant with calculus, the term would mean the sum of what happened rather than how it concluded. We look at the lives touched and the good accomplished rather than the loss of greater potential. Admittedly, the cost to us sometimes seems greater than the positive results. But that is because of our own selfish perspective. Who but God can accurately place a value on one changed life or the general betterment of lives even for a season?
So, what about Afghanistan? We’ve lived in a Muslim country and have ministered in many others including Syria. Kit and I supported the initial war in Afghanistan to dispose of Al Qaeda but opposed subsequent occupation of the country. Same with Iraq when thought to be stockpiling WMDs. We believe the disasters following both ill-conceived occupations were inevitable.
I won’t try to enumerate the good from Afghanistan. You would not consider it sufficient for the cost. But by faith I know that some good was accomplished and intend to focus on that.
Kit and I wrote a mini-book, More than Ordinary Faith – Why Does God Allow Suffering? I reread that biblical compilation in the context of the Afghan debacle and was astounded anew at the insight scripture offers. The mini-book is an in-depth look at biblical principles not a feel-better treatise. But it can booster faith especially if read before a crisis. I’ll email a PDF copy to anyone who asks.
In Our Lord,