Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
It is with a heavy heart that I begin my blog tonight for Day 3 of If My People forty days of prayer for our nation. Sadly, as most have heard already, another heinous act of violence has occurred in Nice, France, during their Bastille Day celebrations earlier today. A terrorist drove a lorry into people leaving the fireworks display, killing 80, injuring 100 with 18 of those in intensive care at last count. Ismail Khalidi, an American-Palestinian writer, described the scene immediately following the attack in these words, “I’ve never seen a stampede like that. I have never seen that level of chaos and hysteria and terror and a total lack of information about what’s going on.” Now, both presidential candidates are speaking of the US engaging in war against the terrorists though using different strategies. My heart aches with sadness at the incomprehensible, unwarranted violence that we as a global community are once again faced with tonight. Trying to make sense of the senseless and feeling the anxiety of “if them, then me.” When will we start seeing this type of violence on our streets?
In my Bible reading today, I came across this verse Job 37:1-2 “At this my heart trembles and leaps out of its place. Listen to his angry voice and the rumble that comes forth from his mouth.” Though Job is describing God and His Majestic thunderous voice which brings marvels to all under the heavens, it feels like Job is describing the terrorists who we see across all medias with their angry voice rumbling, roaring their hate-filled, venomous ideology at those who are different than they. There is great evil in the world as we have seen in our country since terrorism began to effect us directly on 9/11. And we tremble with anxiety and fear at it.
So we come to Him with our anxiety, our fear, our grief and tears. St Paul says to us in today’s Word, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication…let your request be known to God.” St Paul gives us a way to overcome our anxiety, our fear, our frustration with the way our world is going; we are to hand it over to God. For He is capable of bringing great change to our world and unsurpassable peace to our hearts. He is aware that the world will have trouble, but we might have peace in Him as He has conquered the world (John 16:33). So we humble ourselves and bow to Him, pleading for mercy, grace, protection. Then we wait until we hear once “again His voice roar, His majestic voice thunder; He does not restrain them when His voice is heard. God thunders forth marvels with His voice; He does great things beyond our knowing.” (Job 37:4-5). As in Egypt in the time of Moses, God now hears the cries of His People in bondage to the fear of terrorism which is plaguing our world. He will answer our prayers for an end to this evil and He will bring us peace just as He freed the Hebrews from the Egyptians.
We live in a world of great evil. However, when I calm myself by being in God’s presence in prayer and spending time in His Word, I know in my very being that there is greater love, greater goodness, greater mercy to be seen. I recall these words from the movie Love Actually, “General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.“
Though we saw once again a very disturbed man bring great evil to innocent lives, I encourage all of us to be anxious for nothing. To come to God with our prayers and supplications and with thanksgiving give Him our fear, our frustration and our anxiety over terrorism and world events. Knowing that when I give my God who is almighty all that I am, He will give me His peace, which surpasses all understanding and guard my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
Praying for His Peace to wrap around each of us and the people of France tonight so that “the God of hope (will) fill (each of) us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.“ (Romans 15:13).
May you find gratitude and peace in every moment.
Eternal rest grant unto them who passed in the terrorist attack in Nice, France, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.