It’s hard to keep track of everything that has been said about Paris, Beirut, terrorism, and the state of our world in the past few days. So many perspectives have been raised, and so many emotions evoked. But what the recent spate of horrific attacks has really highlighted is this: everyone is susceptible.
Nobody is immune; nobody is safe these days anymore. The latest attack in France—one of the country’s worst since World War II—is yet another reminder of how terrorism can hit anywhere, anytime. Ever since America was hit on 11 September, 2001, much of the world has been living with a collective sense of fear and dread about who will be the next target.
The Paris attack is sure to send many nations into another round of self-introspection and scrambling to come up with a response to the ever-growing threat of terrorism. Many are asking: Is there an effective way to eradicate this threat once and for all? How can we stop living in uncertainty and fear?
But what if we cannot eradicate terrorism? What if a solution to evil and suffering can never be found? What if nothing can be done to make our world a better and safer place to live in? A look at history would suggest that this is most likely to be true. Atrocities are still happening on a daily basis, with people killing each other over differences in race, culture, and religion. Just yesterday, news reports confirmed that a Russian airline jet that crashed at the end of October had in fact been blown up by terrorists.
So what hope is there? If we look to ourselves, we’d probably never be able to find a solution. If that’s the case, then what can we do? Perhaps we need to start looking beyond ourselves and to look to the One who is still in control, even though we may not understand what is going on. Yes, it’s time to pray to God.
Take time to pray—for God’s deepest peace and comfort for those who are grieving, for His justice to prevail, and for wisdom among global leaders as they deliberate on the next steps to take.
Why? Because God knows exactly what’s going on and how we feel. He knows the grief and anger of a person or a family who has lost a loved one to a bomb attack or shooting. He knows the helplessness that a community feels after it has fallen victim to a terrorist attack. He knows the physical and mental suffering of those who have been taken as hostages, and the anxiety that their families go through.
God knows because He has walked with His people through such challenges. In the book of Romans in the Bible, the apostle Paul encourages a group of people who were undergoing immense persecution for their faith by reminding them of the power of Christ’s love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”— Romans 8:35-39
We are unlikely to see an end to terrorism and human atrocities, at least in this life. But we can be certain of one thing: Christ will never leave us, not in pain, suffering, nor even death.
As we continue to reflect over the recent devastating events, let’s approach Christmas with a newfound appreciation of Jesus. Thank God for sending Jesus, for it is only through His coming that we can live with hope, no matter what happens in our lives. And let’s make an effort to reach out to others to demonstrate this love and share this hope.
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