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Lebanon continues to teeter on the verge of war and chaos. One of the major destabilizing factors contributing to the present situation was the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February of 2005. His death further catalyzed the “cedar revolution” which resulted in the end of Syria’s overt influence in Lebanon.

We passed over the place where a bomb blew up Hariri’s car on a Beirut thoroughfare. The blast, equivalent to 1000 kgs of TNT, gouged a 30 foot hole in the pavement and the evidence of the magnitude can still be seen from the destruction of the surrounding buildings in the photos above.

While the UN investigates and the labyrinth that is Lebanese politics continues to swirl with intrigue, life in Beirut is characterized by fear and uncertainty. Such instability can make life hard, but it also means people grapple with the significant and the deeply personal much more readily than those whose lives are immune to such trauma.

Beirut is a contemporary example of what historians and missiologists have always known; that spiritual receptivity can be the silver lining of social/political upheaval. The search for God and ultimate meaning takes on a new urgency when all hell is breaking loose around us. What I have seen firsthand in places like this is that the good news of Jesus is profoundly transforming when communicated humbly and lived out authentically. Such sovereign intervention by God, mediated by those on the ground determined to follow Jesus, is the only hope for Lebanon.

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