THE DUST STORM
On March 19, 2003, a fighter plane began its mission over southern Iraq to patrol “the no-fly zone.” Suddenly, the pilot changed his course and flew straight toward Bagdad. He was given specific coordinates on a special target. Quickly he delivered his payload and returned to his base. The war with Iraq, called the Second Persian Gulf War, had begun . Saddam Hussein had been that special target but he had literally dodged the bullet (bomb) – this time.
In the United States, prayers were made on behalf of our president and our troops. We prayed for God’s protection for our military personnel. We prayed for a quick and successful end to the war.
But on March 23, 2003, there were some setbacks. Twenty-seven MIA’s were reported . On the following day, March 24, a vicious dust storm began. Moslem clerics boasted that the storm, which hindered the Coalition’s war effort, was proof that Allah was answering their prayers. Allah was fighting on their side and they would win. Our airplanes couldn’t fly. Our tanks couldn’t move. Our soldiers couldn’t get water and other needed provisions.
We prayed that God would remove the dust storm. He didn’t. For two long days the wind storm raged blowing sand into the tents and clothes and shoes and eyes and ears and nostrils of our soldiers. They were miserable. Machines had to stop. Air filters clogged up. They would be changed — when the dust stopped blowing. Vehicles could not be refueled for fear of getting sand and grit into the fuel tanks. Weapons had to be protected from the all-pervasive dust and sand.
Finally, on March 26 the wind abated. The tanks began to move again. As they did so, the lookouts noticed some bumps in the sand, directly in their paths. Upon investigation they discovered a large minefield. What the Iraqis had hidden, God had uncovered. He had answered our prayers. Not that the storm would stop quickly, but that He would protect our military personnel from harm.
This reminds me of the children of Israel leaving Egypt. Exodus 14 records how the God led the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea. Pharaoh had them trapped. But God was the One Who told them to camp there (v-1)! Now they would be captured or killed! But God had other plans. Plans for their good and not their harm. He wanted to stop Egypt from pursuing after the Israelites, once and for all. He did. You know the narrative and how the Israelites crossed the sea on dry ground but the pursuing Egyptians were drowned.
No, Allah was not answering the Moslem’s prayers by sending that storm. God was answering our prayers on behalf of our military. But we didn’t know it at the time.
Is God allowing something in your life that seems to be hindering you? Perhaps He is answering some of your prayers and you just can’t see it right now. Be patient. It will become evident one day.