From war zones to God’s peace

From war zones to God’s peace

I have experienced how great our God is, and how much healing and help there is in God’s Word.

19/01/20248 min

By ActiveChristianity

From war zones to God’s peace

A longing for God at an early age

I was raised by very upright Christian parents and I had a really good childhood. When I read the Bible, I sensed God’s presence.

As I grew up, I wanted to understand more of God’s Word. Even though I was a Christian and sought God as best I could, I felt something was missing. I felt unrest and burdened by sin. I always felt impure. But I couldn’t find any help with that. Every time I asked questions about it, I only got long, theological explanations instead of answers.

Everything changed in 1990

I was 13 years old when a war broke out in my country. For three years it went on around our city, but there were only a few attacks near us. There was nothing that had a great impact.

Then, one morning we woke up to missiles falling from the sky. Soldiers with painted faces and guns were running through the streets, and people were forced from their homes. It was chaos. The war was now very close.

My family fled to the mountains beyond our town with the few belongings we could carry. We spent several days there, watching as the enemy soldiers burned down building after building. It was terrible.

As I watched the destruction I prayed, “Dear God, I refuse to believe this is the reason I was born. There is no way that THIS is my inheritance, and there is NO way that this is my destiny. I don’t believe that. I believe you have planned something better for me.”

In that moment, I felt that the Spirit of God gave me strength, and I knew that I could carry on and take care of my pregnant mother and little brother.

My dad was soon called into the army and the three of us were on our own. We fled to a protected city. I began to look in the Bible for help and tried to understand what God’s will was for me in all the chaos. I experienced many times throughout the war that God’s hand was over my life.

Starting over

Despite the danger, my father survived and after he came back we moved to a safe country, with the hopes of starting over and having a better life. There I met a man with whom I could speak about the things I didn’t understand in the Bible and he explained it to me. And for the first time, I heard that we can overcome sin. Specifically Galatians 5:25 (NLT) spoke to me: ”Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

One day, he invited me to a Christian youth conference with hundreds of other young people.

When I heard the main speaker, I knew it was the truth. It was clear that he lived the life he spoke about; it wasn’t just theory. It was very clear to me that this man loved God with all of his heart and I prayed, “Dear God, this is how I want to live. I want to have it like this.” I sensed that I had found the home for me. It felt like a great burden was taken away from me.

A changed man

As I sought God with all of my heart, I slowly got the answers to things that I had been struggling with for years. I finally learned that it was possible to become free from the burden of sin and impurity. The Holy Spirit could point out the sins in my human nature, and He also gave me the power to overcome them. I started to read and read and read the Bible. I got the spiritual nourishment and the strength I needed.

I also learned that no matter what your circumstances are, you can’t go on sinning, you have to overcome. It doesn’t matter if you are in a warzone or busy with the everyday life of work, school, or family. I don’t have any special excuses because of what I went through.

It says in 1 Peter 4:1, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.” The “flesh” is your sinful human nature, and to “suffer in the flesh” means that you say No to your sinful human nature when you am tempted. This verse is something to hold on to. Believe that verse! In the morning when you wake up, arm yourself with the same mind as Jesus, and that means to tell yourself, “I’ll rather suffer than giving in to sin.” It really is a suffering but a you get tremendous results. You’ll become strong in the Lord.

Because of the war, I had a lot of nervous issues and problems that I had to deal with. My hands were shaky and I was unsure about a lot of things. I had bad nightmares and would grind my teeth almost every night.

But I experienced a miracle when God’s Spirit and God’s Word came into my heart. All these things were taken away from me. I had no more fear; all that shakiness was taken away. I never had nightmares after that, and it’s been 21 years since those days now.

God’s Word is true

Although many people who have experienced war can easily become bitter, and begin to doubt God, I began to experience that God’s Word is true and it works. I needed something to help me and to lead me to God. No matter what I did, I felt empty. But when I read the Bible, I sensed peace and help, and in difficult situations, I always turned to the Bible for help. It was the only thing that could bring peace.

As time went on, I experienced that God was good, and the more I experienced it, the more I believed it. God became even more real to me. He watches over us, He is by our side to protect us. (Psalm 121:5.) We experience that if we “suffer in the flesh”, if we say No to what comes up from our human nature, we stop sinning. (1 Peter 4:1-2.) We become strong in faith and hope, and life becomes fantastic!

I can’t go back now and be miserable about my past, because I have experienced that God is true, and He has perfectly planned my situations. Many people today feel they don’t belong anywhere, but when you belong to Jesus and the kingdom of heaven, then you experience joy, hope, and peace! No matter how things around you are, God is working and He is true. He is a loving and caring God, and you really want to serve Him with everything that you have.

I praise God for everything that He has done so carefully to bring me to this place in life where I am now. He has been so merciful to me; there are no words to express how good God has been to me.

And I can testify just as Paul in Philippians 3:12-14 (CEV),“I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running.” 

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This article is based on an article by Sarah Martinovic (on behalf of Leo Martinovic) originally published on and has been adapted with permission for use on this website.