Rumours of Wars

Natasha Moore recognises the fear that comes with the rumours of war - is there hope when it feels like the 'end of the world'?

World news is by definition alarming – nobody reports on another average day in Ulaanbaatar – but recent headlines do seem to have taken things up a notch. 

Tracking the potential breakdown of what we might call the global “order” is no new thing: the phrase that keeps coming to mind for me comes from the mouth of Jesus, who warned his disciples they should expect to hear “of wars and rumours of wars” as a matter of course.

Rumours of wars: an important category, if we are to accurately trace the contours of our dread. We are shocked and grieved and wearied by the news out of Gaza or Ukraine – the horrors of war in progress. Rumours of war have a different quality. 

Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping and Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq threaten to tip the Middle East into broader conflict. A high-up NATO official suggests European civilians need to prepare for “all-out war” with Russia in the next 20 years. 

Taiwan’s recent election further foregrounds the possibility of China resorting to military force in order to achieve “reunification”. 

Many rumours of war remain just that – how many times has #WorldWar3 trended and subsided in recent years? Equally, every war starts out as mere rumours. What does it mean to live “on the brink” – on several possibly incompatible fronts – wisely and soberly?

Jesus describes all such things – war, rumours of war, earthquake, famine – as “birth pains”. That is, awful pain; ultimately crowned with joy. 

The global conspiracy theorist looks at global chaos and sees a direction to it in one sense: someone sinister pulling the strings. 

The believer finds hope in a very different direction – faith that the moral arc of the universe, however long, tortuous or fear-inducing, does ultimately bend towards justice. 


“God wills it”

Natasha Moore on the Crusades, the burning cross in the Grampians, the Capitol insurrection – and the danger of claiming God’s will as your own.