Today I have added the people of Turkey to my bundle of care and prayer. More people were killed in Turkey last night during an attempted military coup than in Nice, France the night before! The country is a divided one, with 52% of the population supporting and duly electing the current president. That means 48% of the people are against the current government.
I’ve had the good fortune to visit Turkey several times. It is a great country with a tumultuous history and spectacular sights. Its people are people just like you and me.. In recent years, however, the country has changed and the attitudes of some of the people have changed with it by supporting a Neo-Islamic political party. According to the latest news, the attempted coup of last night has been foiled and now we must wait to see how everything “shakes out.” Will democratic ideals be upheld and honored in the aftermath? That is a big question. It could turn out to be “the best of times” or “the worst of times” for the people of Turkey! And for NATO, and for Europe, Asia, and yes, even for these United States. We are all dependent on one another; all connected to one another as nations and as people.
Did you know that the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation are in Turkey (Asia Minor)? Many of the Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys recorded in the Book of Acts were in present-day Turkey: Antioch, Ephesus, Hierapolis, and Colossae, Perge, etc. Paul was born in Tarsus, a city dating back to the 14th century B.C. in Turkey, just a few miles from the present-day Syrian border. Istanbul was once called Constantinople (named after Constantine the Great). It was the capital of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire—the first city where Christianity was made a capital religion. The city bridges two continents, Europe and Asia. The ancient city of Troy (remember the Trojan Horse?) is in Turkey. What a history! And there is much, much more!
We are all troubled in this mysterious world where so much is dark to us just now Heavy clouds seem to hover over us everyday, both here and abroad. I know it doesn’t help to say, “It has always been this way!” But the truth is that it always has. Our tendency, unfortunately, is to dwell there. I find some comfort these days in Browning’s view of things:
Oh, we’re sunk enough here, God knows!
But not quite so sunk that moments,
Sure tho’ seldom, are denied us,
When the spirit’s true endowments
Stand out plainly from its false ones.