How do we respond when heartbreak and horror fill every day's news?
- Be afraid. There's no place to hide.
- No place to keep you family safe.
- The horror in France, and New Orleans and Baton Rouge and Dallas and ______, it could happen here.
- All it takes is one person with a grievance. One individual, sick or not, who believes the way to go out in a blaze of glory is to kill, kill, kill.
Fight back: Stay grounded in faith
First plug into reality and consider it well. Every media outlet operates by a universal slogan of the news business:
"If it bleeds, it leads."
Second, yes, the terror could happen in your town or mine. Yes, it only takes one person.
But here's what matters most:
The Lord of heaven and earth, the Creator of everything seen and unseen, has not turned his back on us. HE watches over us.
How can we be sure? He tells us in His written word, the Bible.
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber. --Psalm 121:3-4
It's time to stock the arsenal you carry around
It's not a stockpile of guns we need, but a storehouse of promises. Words from the Word.
Words that lift us up rather than weigh us down.
These past couple of years I've discovered anew how much it helps to arm ourselves with Truth. I don't know why this verse particularly speaks to my anxious heart, but I've probably repeated it to myself a thousand times:
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 NIV
Over and over, day and night, driving in my car or doing chores, that verse quieted my heart and my fears.
The value of Scripture vs. repeating affirmations, mantras and power statements
Talking heads on TV and "name" authors tell us we need to cultivate the habit of regularly repeating something like this to ourselves: "I am strong. I am brave. I will be fine, etc."
It may help. A little.
What helps more is to turn the eyes of our hearts to God's Word and know it has power.
Here's 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
Whether we spend hours in deep Bible study or only manage moments here and there, God's Spirit works through Scripture and changes us.
Living by the news trains us in fear. Living by the Truth trains us in righteousness.
It reminds us who we are in Christ: God's righteous people, set right with God not because of what we do or think but because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf.
Go back to what you know
First and most importantly, if we believe in Jesus Christ as true God and the Savior from sin:
- We needn't fear God is just waiting for us to slip up so He can lower the boom on us.
- We needn't view our problems as punishment.
- We have eternal life. Now.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. --John 3:16 ESV
If we depend on our "higher consciousness" or our "good thoughts" for strength, we'll stay mired in the swamp of fear that pervades our national thinking right now.
If we take God at His word, we can live free.
God hasn't abandoned the United States of America
His hand of blessing and mercy has been on this nation from the beginning. How else could this "Grand Experiment" have survived?
Our Founding Fathers were great men, yes, but they were ordinary human beings. Almost without exception they were Christians and trusted God. For example, George Washington said:
"You do well to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are."
Giving in to fear won't make us or anyone around us calmer.
It won't do one iota to make America a stronger nation.
However the upcoming elections turn out, whoever wins, whether we applaud or weep, God will not turn away from us or from the United States. Life will go on.
Terrorists can grab the headlines for a day or for a week, but by God's grace, we will survive.
[Jesus said] "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." --Matthew 10:29-30 NIV
So let's leave fear behind and be people who speak peace.
Sorry this ran long, but I pray something in this post blesses your heart. Love,