There are times that world issues
seem so large that they may rarely have direct effect on daily living. In other
words, we may know that there is a significant concern in the world, but that
issue does not appear to affect daily living.
This last year, however, our
family was confronted with the realities of nuclear terrorism because it has
changed our normal routines. The church where I serve as the pastor, Trinity
International Church has many roads closed
surrounding it. Church activities for two days were canceled due to road
closures for the protection of 58 world leaders including US President Barack
Obama, UN secretary Ban Ki-Moon, and China’s President Xi Jinping who are here.
Due to this summit, the Hague area had some 5000 extra delegation members and
3000 journalists from various countries. The center of The Hague was also shut
In the surrounding area, it is
also obvious that something big is happening. Schiphol airport in
Amsterdam shut down a runway so there would be enough room for the visitors to
park their jets for the two-day meeting. Large highways such as the A5, A44,
N14, and many lanes on the A4 were also closed. Dutch officials encouraged
workers to stay at home to take the stress off of the local roads. Many
of the nation’s trains were also affected. In short, the concern of the world
interfered with daily living in the Netherlands.
As someone living relatively near
to this summit, I was thankful for this conference for several reasons. The
most obvious is that it is good for international leaders to gather and speak
to each other. Addressing this issue is important. Nuclear terrorism must be
prevented. While it is not my daily concern, if it is left unaddressed, our
world, my church, and possibly my family may be affected by something greater.
There is another reason for being
thankful. When a world event intervenes, it lifts my eyes away from daily
living and reminds me that there are greater concerns that need my
attention in prayer. Poverty, the spread of HIV, human trafficking, and war are
all great needs. Many live with these concerns each day. While they are not
concerns in my daily living, they are very much the concern of others and are
worthy of time in my prayers.
From a Christian perspective,
there are also great world needs which also deserve a spot in my prayer life.
The gospel must be preached to the nations. One-third of the world does not
know that Jesus can save people from their sins and give eternal life. One
hundred and eighty million people are without the Scriptures in their own
language. Much of Christian literature is found in 4 major languages – English,
Spanish, German, and French – but not in others. Two hundred million Christians
are persecuted for their faith. Likely the greatest need of all is for trained
Christian leaders to preach and teach the gospel message. These are great
needs. If these are left unaddressed, our world, my church, and possibly my family
may also be affected by something greater.
I do not prefer to have my life
disturbed. However, there are larger issues in the world than my daily
concerns. While my life was disrupted for these days, it has brought my focus
back to greater world issues. I was thankful for this Nuclear Summit for
addressing nuclear terrorism as well as lifting my eyes to greater realities.
Please join me in prayer for
nuclear safety in our world, but also, join me in prayer for the greater needs
in the world and the worldwide cause of Christ. What may be out of sight daily
is still in need of prayers and attention regularly. May God help us all to
have a bigger picture of our world and its greater needs.
Drake Williams is Professor of NT Language and LIterature at Tyndale Theological Seminary. He earned a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen.