The recent developments coming from US President Trump’s conversation with Turkish leader Erdogan generated a large emotional reaction in me. In no particular order, I was outraged, grieved, angered, horrified and appalled. The only thing that I did not feel was surprise. This is not the first time the Kurds have been sold out by the West. The same thing happened at the end of WWI and WWII, to name only two other times.
It seems that the Kurds could take a lesson from the leaders of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel in the Old Testament. They were infamous for looking to foreign powers for their salvation rather than to God. I understand that some Kurds are Christians, so they have as much right as any other national group to claim 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Please understand that I have no idea if God wants there to be an independent Kurdistan or not. Discerning God’s will in such matters is quite above my level of understanding. I do know that God cares deeply for everyone struggling in that region. Starting from that perspective, I drew a deeply personal lesson out of the betrayal of the Kurds.
The lesson is simple, and it comes straight out of the Bible. Don’t trust people because you will only end up disappointed. Trust God instead. This is a central theme of the Bible that starts in Genesis and continues all the way through to Revelation. The success or failure of any individual in the Bible is tied directly to their trust or lack of trust in God in that situation.
For example, Eve ultimately doubted God and decided to trust the serpent. Solomon built alliances with foreign powers through marriage, demonstrating the limits of human wisdom. Of course, any list of doubters—no matter how short—must include the apostle Thomas for his statements regarding the testimony of his fellow apostles.
As Christians, of course, we have come to depend on God for our salvation. We’ve accepted the truth of Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and are in need of a redeemer and that the redeemer we need is Jesus Christ: God who became man to die for our sins so that we do not get what we deserve. (1 John 4:10, etc.) Unfortunately, too often, this is as far as our trust goes.
While there is a great deal that I do not understand about how best to live the Christian life, I am confident that God intends us to trust Him for things beyond our salvation. I see this in James 1:5, where we are instructed to ask for wisdom with the confident expectation that we will receive it. In fact, the entire book of James can be understood as an encouragement to depend on God.
The instruction to depend on Him is repeated in the context of both spiritual matters and physical needs. Again, like the examples where Western powers disappointed the Kurds or people in the Bible doubted God, there are far too many verses to cite them all, but here are a few that establish the principle that God wants us to trust Him:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
This is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we will have the requests that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14–15
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Not that my own experience can add anything to the weight of Scripture, but I can say without a doubt that every lack in my life can be traced to an unwillingness to trust God. I often do not want to admit this, but it’s the truth. I tend to depend on people than on God, and as the Kurds can tell you, that’s not a good idea. Fortunately, the first step in solving a problem is to admit you have one.