Last week, in a 24 hour period, terrorists unleashed violent attacks in three different locations around the globe – Beirut, Baghdad and Paris.
In North America, the news coverage for the attack on Paris was front and centre. We watched our TVs, followed Tweets, and read online news sources as the tragic events unfolded.
Perhaps it’s because we’re seemingly so far removed from Middle Eastern culture, that the horror of events in that part of the world don’t seem to have the same effect on us as ones that hit “closer” to home.
Or perhaps we operate from the frame of mind that this type of extreme violence is more common in some cultures, therefore we can more easily turn a blind eye to it. Or maybe it simply impacts us more when acts of terrorism are carried out in parts of the world that “look” more like the world we’re used to.
At any rate, Paris was front and centre, and for many, still is.
[NOTE: This is not a blog intended to raise a banner of justice for all, and to try to be a voice for each brutal attack that is unleashed around the world – there are plenty of voices championing this point. The sad news is, these types of attacks occur more often than we hear of in mainstream media. Does that mean it was wrong for Paris to be the centre of our attention last week? Not at all. Should you feel heartbroken for the families of all who were effected in the attacks around the world? Absolutely. Should you feel bad if you were unaware of brutal attacks taking place in parts of the world besides Paris? Absolutely not.]
As fear grips the people of France, Beirut and Baghdad, and, let’s be honest, even grasps at our own hearts even though we’re so far away, I am reminded of fear’s strategy:
To diminish Christ, exalt sin, weaken faith and blind hearts from truth.
In these days, the church of Christ around the globe needs to be on guard against a spirit of fear that would seek to knock at the door of the hearts of believers. In the midst of scary circumstances and brutal reminders of the world we live in, I pray that we don’t give into fear’s strategy. How can we engage those around us who are fearful if we, too, are giving into the same fear?
1 John 4:18 reminds us that perfect love, Christ’s love, drives out fear. The church needs to be ready in this very hour to invade the darkness of fear – the very fear that terrorists wish to unleash – with the shining light of God’s love.
Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Our victorious, grave defeating, sin conquering, resurrected and living King, Jesus, is still on the throne. That hasn’t changed.
He is still coming back one day for a bride – a victorious church, made up of every tribe, tongue, nation and people. A bride, that will be growing and increasing in strength, influence and glory as Christ’s return comes near.
I pray that, in the midst of terror and death, we would be filled with hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
May the church of Christ stand, unwavering, undaunted and burdened more than ever for the broken and hurting world around us whose hearts are increasingly filling with fear. May we passionately communicate – both in our words and actions – the love of Christ that is so overwhelmingly magnificent that fear is unable to stand in its presence.
Join with me in prayer that in this dark hour, Christ’s love will be seen, felt and received in the very places where fear would seek to take up residence. Be that home or abroad… the answer is Jesus.
P.S. There’s still all kinds of good in this world. Take a peek at the kindness that spread like wildfire in the moments following the attacks in Paris.
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