History, I'm now discovering, is almost exclusively about conflict - war - and while we can often recount the names of explorers, statesmen and writers, it is the innumerable numbers of soldiers, sailors and airmen that have collectively asserted national independence and the will of the state.
Much of warfare is evil to the extreme and a majority of the hostilities seem to be generated by leaders who aspire to expand their influence over other countries, often with resources in mind.
The First World War - which was prompted by the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austro-Hungary by Bosnian Serbs - was attributed to Serbia in general and Austro-Hungary immediately attacked. Soon virtually every country in Europe was involved.
Over nine million military casualties and approximately six million civilian casualties were the result.
The First World War saw the defeat of Germany and the creation of a republic that would be led by Adolf Hitler just 15 years later.
Hitler took advantage of Germany's frustration with the treaties, reparations and surrendered territories by the victorious allies. The Second World War was the result when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.
This was the most significant conflict in history with more casualties than the current population of Canada. About 39,000 Canadians died in the Second World War. Tragically, in the case of many countries such as the USSR, Poland and China, civilian casualties dramatically outnumbered the military casualties.
Civil wars, though obviously much less far-reaching, can be even more disturbing on some levels because citizens of the same country - even the same family - can be in violent conflict with one another.
The American Civil War - which resulted in the death of over 600,000 soldiers - generated vicious alliances which transcended any national will.
The Spanish Civil War was particularly horrible because many of the 360,000 people who died in the conflict were effectively murdered as opposed to being killed in battle.
Both sides grew increasingly vicious and thousands of volunteers from other countries - including Canada - became involved in the conflict.
Other civil wars, such as those in China, France, Britain and today in Syria and Chad, unfortunately reveal that people can become aligned to causes - even to the point of death.
Civil wars effectively destroy any national purpose: commerce and government struggle to even exist and everyone suffers, especially children who don't understand the issues.
Families even have their own miniature civil wars - usually fueled by pride. People may not be physically hurt, but there is pain nonetheless. Parents become alienated from children; children quit speaking to one another and the family disperses.
And, finally, I believe we have our own personal civil wars. Our demeanor may appear composed yet often just below the surface there is considerable turmoil.
It's almost as if we live two lives: one that is private and one that is public.
These inner conflicts, if not addressed, may lead to poor self-worth, depression, even destructive behavior such as addictions or dysfunctional relationships.
The Bible calls the evil in our life sin. Sin is what separates us from God. We are all sinful, and are all tempted to do the wrong thing.
But there is hope! John 3: 16 will encourage you: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Christ - who was perfect - died on the cross for you personally, once and for all, to take away your sin. And he rose from the dead.
You don't have to fight your secret civil wars alone! Why not call on God through Christ today? You can do it right now. Confess your sins and ask him to come into your life and forgive you.
- Simon Gibson attends church in Abbotsford and writes Faith that Matters which appears in the Abbotsford-Mission Times.