As I write this, the sun’s playing peek-a-boo through the trees in our yard.
It sneaks past limbs, branches and leaves and silently streams through windows and blinds.
It’s a welcome sight after a week of grey, wind, and rain. But today it’s so much more than that.
To me, the sunshine signifies hope after the storm that ripped through Paris. Heightened fear, heightened security measures, calls for heightened awareness—all could spiral mankind into a panicked frenzy over an unknown future. That’s the intent of those responsible for Friday’s tragedy, is it not?
But to those people I say, “Be not deceived—you are fighting a losing battle. Your reign of terror will not last. God promises to avenge the wrongs you’ve committed, and He always fulfills His promises. Consider your ways and turn from them before it’s too late. He has a higher calling for you than the one you’re pursuing. His purpose for you involves peace not pain, life not death.” And for these people I pray that God will remove the veil of deceit and lies from their eyes so they might know His love and sacrifice on their behalf.
Those who lost loved ones and those who witnessed the events may be feeling as though they’ve been thrust into a darkness of the soul. To these men and women—mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lovers, friends, coworkers—I say, “Do not fear this journey upon which you’ve been thrust, for the darkness cannot hurt you. One day one ray of light will pierce that darkness, and then another and another. For now, though, grieve your loss assured that the world grieves with you. I speak on behalf of countless others who are praying for your comfort, your peace of mind, and your healing.”
Those of us watching news of Paris from afar might feel, on the one hand, stunned and scared. When will ISIS reach us? Have they already planted their people within North America’s borders? Where’s this world heading, and what will it eventually look like for our kids and grandchildren?
On the other hand, some might observe the goings-on and feel invincible. After all, we live in North America. Nothing like Friday’s events could ever happen here.
Personally, I fall in the first camp. I spent a couple of weeks in the Middle East this fall, and while there, a very wise man told me that Westerners have far underestimated ISIS. “These people are bright,” he said, “and they’re likely already in your country. Do not be over-confident about your safety.”
I take this man’s caution seriously, but I take God’s Word even more seriously. And His Word says this: “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NLT).
I don’t know what the future holds anymore than anyone else does, but this I do know—Christ’s presence fills and follows and surrounds those who love Him. It doesn’t make us immune to danger—after all, even He, a most innocent man, suffered a brutal death. But it means we can face darkness unafraid because Christ—the Light of the world—lives in us. Nothing can snuff out the Light. Nothing.
A storm swept through Paris, and the entire world feels its effect. But the Light of life lives on. Now, more than ever, those of us in whom the Light lives must shine brightly in ever-increasing darkness. Let us be that ray of hope to those who are hurting and afraid.
#bgbg2 #PrayForParis #OvercomeFear