There are times when I know I’m okay (of course), but friends and family hear news from Europe and become concerned. Yesterday was another such day.
Brussels. About 2 hours down the road. One of the locations where our sons’ sports teams compete almost every season. I took the metro into the Grand Place on several occasions and blogged about the food there a couple weeks ago. We’ve flown in and out of that airport more times than I can remember, most recently when I flew to our mission in the DR Congo. Yesterday, a US military family like our own was among the injured, evacuated, and separated at the airport. The only heightened concern I’ve had there was whether the boys stayed together in the restroom while they were out of my sight.
While my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones, my mind wonders which capital city will be next. Will wearing one glove (as the attackers at the airport did) become associated with terrorists more than Michael Jackson? Will the next attack come soon? Will is strike closer to home?
I have many questions, hear lots of theories, and know few answers. I know this, though. I am not to have spirit of fear. My holy scriptures tell me, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 New International Bible translation).
Does that mean I will always be safe? No. These words were for Israel, for the Jewish nation as they faced the many battles it would take to claim their promised land. Although the Daesh (AKA ISIS) want to take it, Europe is not the promised land for the so-called Islamic state. The World will not be ruled by bullies with bombs who are intent on the genocide of Christians, Shiites, Yazidis and anyone else who will not submit to them.
How do we respond?
“Do not be afraid.” “Be strong and courageous.” “Stand firm…” These are phrases that I have heard my entire life at Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Christian Camp. Every Christmas the story is told about how God sent angels to announce the birth of His son, and the angels said, “Fear not!” The celebration of Easter this Sunday reminds me how the Jesus’ followers faced His death, witnessed His resurrection, and placed all their faith in Him despite what they were told would come next: persecutions, suffering and slayings.
One man who went on a crusade to oppress Christians ended up becoming one. Perhaps these words from one of the letters he wrote will encourage you as they do me. The battle is not about who is bigger or stronger, or who can land the best blows. How we do things is as important as what we do.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 14 lines 13-14).