We awoke this morning to the news of another apparently terrorist attack in Ottawa, Canada, near the Parliament House and War Memorial. That follows the news from this week of the 17-year-old Bankstown native (pictured) who joined ISIS and is their new poster boy in a unison mob of hostility against all things Western. Forget grease--terrorism is the word.
And it’s a new word in terms of the dictionary, but not in terms of history. Throughout the ages, people have tried to traumatize their enemies and make them cringe at their sight or even the possibility of encounter.
Last night at our OneNewMan gathering in Sydney, we discussed terrorism and how we should respond and how we should live without fear. Or is that possible?
Here were some highlights:
1) Behind this terrorist attack lurks the one described in the Bible as "the Evil One"—Hasatan, (Satan), the one whose ministry is to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10.10) The devil and the hosts of hell are ultimately behind all terrorist attacks. Paul wrote, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6.12) and "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for the tearing down of strongholds...raised up against the knowledge of God." (2 Corinthians 10.4) Therefore we ought to be people of prayer.
2) Paul the apostle said this: “in no way alarmed (terrorized) by your opponents — which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” (Philippians 1.28) In other words, our not being terrified is a sign of our enemies' destruction or non-salvation. God's calm in our lives is evidence of our salvation and evidence of their perdition.
3) King David said in the psalms: “From the end of the earth I call to Thee, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Thy tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Thy wings." (Psalm 61:2-4) So for the believer, when terror comes, our first port-of-call needs to be the shelter of the Almighty and run to Him. Solomon said the same with “The name of the Lord is like a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 19.10) We pray, we hide, we eavesdrop on the plans and words of God. We turn to the Scripture for assurance and life abundant.
4) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (Psalm 46.1-3). Thus, no matter what troubles there are, in natural circumstances like tsunamis or earthquakes, or whatever the terrorists throw at us, we draw close to God, who is very present and the help in time of all trouble.
5) Faith is the real and foremost response of a believer. We trust God. That doesn’t mean we will not experience pain or beheading or ebola or other assaults. (‘in time of trouble.’) What it does mean is that no matter what we experience, that God Himself is the One whom we approach and from whom we draw great comfort, no matter what. Mark 11.22 says, “Have faith in God.” Yeshua said, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14.1) The writer of Hebrews said, “without faith it’s impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11.6)