I remember one summer, at camp, the kid in the bunk above me fell out of bed and knocked over a lamp next to me. The bulb broke with a flash of bright light, and I shot up in bed, terrified.
In my startled state, I thought a nuclear bomb had struck.
Snakes, spiders, mice-I’ll admit I’m scared of all of them. But nothing compares to my number one fear: I’m scared of Nukes. Nuclear missiles. Nuclear bombs.
Growing up during the cold war, I was inundated with imagery of the East and the West pointing these weapons of mass destruction at each other. There were mini-series about nukes (Special Bulletin and The Day After come to mind) depicting the literal fallout from Nuclear terrorism or war.
The scariest thing about being afraid of nukes is that it’s not an irrational fear. It’s such a big, real fear, with no easy solution, that it’s best just not to think about it. But this week, both Russia and North Korea have touted their nuclear readiness, and their willingness to use them, if necessary. God forbid.
God forbid, indeed. Actually, wouldn’t that be great? If God just forbade nuclear weapons from existing? If, with a snap of God’s fingers, all the nukes in the world would just disappear? The scripture above talks about beating swords into plowshares. Heck, I’d be happy beating our nukes back into swords. Sure, it’s still a weapon, but not one that could destroy all life on this planet.
Would God let us destroy ourselves? That’s not a question I’m prepared to answer, but it’s one that keeps me up at night from time to time. Again, best not to think about it.
I remember, in the 80’s, my parents had these shirts that said, “You can’t hug your children with nuclear arms.” Back then, it seemed like something worth protesting against, something we could actually do something about. Where are the protests today? Where are the people, not just pacifists, but people from all walks of life, holding up signs that say “No Nukes”? I don’t see it.
Not that it’s something I’m doing either. For the third time I say, best not to think about it. It would take an act of God to dismantle the world’s nuclear arsenals.
You know what? Today, I think I’ll confront my fear. I am going to think about it. I’m going to start praying a two word prayer I haven’t prayed in years: NO NUKES. Would you pray with me? Then, maybe our prayers will turn into actions, and our actions will spurn more prayers, and so on.
And maybe God, who works in mysterious ways, will bring the judgement of peace to bear on this world, in small and large ways.
And maybe our children’s children will sleep better at night.
Have a good week,