Do you have the feeling that world-wide events are cascading over us and spiraling out of control? It seems that we are barely able to process one event before another one or two or more comes rolling over us. There is much chaos, disorder, and darkness in the world around us.
The Middle East continues to experience unrest in country after country, and the area is literally on fire. 1) NATO is now in control of the no-fly-zone part of operations against Moammar Gadhafi's regime in Libya, and French and British jets are bombing military targets there as I write this. Al Qaeda admitted that they are part of the protesters, and they have been reportedly "snatched" missiles from storehouses in Libya. Why is our government even considering the idea of sending arms to help the protesters - who are being support by Al Qaeda? We have already declared war on Al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan! 2) Syrian troops are firing on protesters in several cities as both pro-government and anti-government mobs clash on the streets of the nation's capital. 3) Protesters in Jordan demanding reforms clashed against government supporters in the center of the nation's capital. The two groups were throwing stones at each other until security forces began to beat the protesters. More than one hundred people were injured in this clash. 4) Yemen's long-time ruler has said that he is ready to step down from power if he can leave the country in "safe hands."
5) Tear gas was fired at anti-government protesters in response to a prominent Shiite cleric vow that protesters would not be silenced by "brutal force." 6) In eastern Saudi Arabia, several hundred Shiite Muslims protested to show support for Shiites protesting the Sunni monarchy in Bahrain. The protesters want detainees released and the Saudi government to withdraw troops from Bahrain. 7) In "democratic" Egypt, the military are forcing female protesters to undergo "virginity tests." 8) Other nations in the Middle East and northern Africa continue to have "days of rage" and problems with protests.
In addition, problems are happening elsewhere: 9) Anarchy is taking place in the United Kingdom as 500,000 people march in London to protest budget cuts. 10) The Canadian government has failed. 11) Economic problems continue to plague many nations. 12) Japan is dealing with increasing amounts of radioactivity in their food and seawater and ordering bottled water for infants under one year old. 13) We have breaking news about a government operation that allowed US weapons to be smuggled into Mexico. An investigation into this operation was started after two weapons were found at the site where US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout in December 2010. 14) Wisconsin conservatives continue their battle to bring their budget under control by limiting the rights of unions there. Clashes continue to take place between conservatives and progressives on many levels of government. 15) Earthquakes shake the earth from time to time, and volcanoes are reacting to the added stress.
Where can we find peace? Where is our safety? After the attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001, and at the very moment that word came about the war starting in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley said,
"Now we are at war. Great forces have been mobilized and will continue to be. Political alliances are being forged. We do not know how long this conflict will last. We do not know what it will cost in lives and treasure. We do not know the manner in which it will be carried out….
"Now, all of us know that war, contention, hatred, suffering of the worst kind are not new. The conflict we see today is but another expression of the conflict that began with the War in Heaven. I quote from the book of Revelation:
"`And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
"`And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
"`And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
"`And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ (Rev. 12:7-10).'
"That must have been a terrible conflict. The forces of evil were pitted against the forces of good. The great deceiver, the son of the morning, was defeated and banished, and took with him a third of the hosts of heaven.
"The book of Moses and the book of Abraham shed further light concerning this great contest. Satan would have taken from man his agency and taken unto himself all credit and honor and glory. Opposed to this was the plan of the Father which the Son said He would fulfill, under which He came to earth and gave His life to atone for the sins of mankind.
"From the day of Cain to the present, the adversary has been the great mastermind of the terrible conflicts that have brought so much suffering.
"Treachery and terrorism began with him. And they will continue until the Son of God returns to rule and reign with peace and righteousness among the sons and daughters of God….
"Now … we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, `Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.
"Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, `Be still, and know that I am God' (Ps. 46:10).
"Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.
"May the God of heaven, the Almighty, bless us, help us, as we walk our various ways in the uncertain days that lie ahead. May we look to Him with unfailing faith. May we worthily place our reliance on His Beloved Son who is our great Redeemer, whether it be in life or in death, is my prayer in His holy name, even the name of Jesus Christ" ("The Times in Which We Live," Ensign, November 2001, p. 72).
The war on terrorism continues almost ten years later, and other problems plague us as described above. There are many things in our world that bring stress into our lives, but our safety and peace still lies - in life or death - in unfailing faith in Jesus Christ, in obedience to God's commandments, in prayer, and in righteous living. I have no doubts that this is true!