It feels like the media is full of news about terror attacks. It seems to happen more often now, and you never know where it will happen next. Trains, shopping malls, markets, places that are so close to home, are targets for shooters and suicide bombers.
Listening to the news, I am often shocked, and it makes me sad and afraid. I feel very sorry for those who have lost their loved ones, and thoughts of worry and fear bring unrest within myself. Will my loved ones or I myself become the next victims?
I know that terrorists spread fear, terror and uncertainty as their way of getting what they want. If I give in to fear, it means I go along with their plans. But how can I not be afraid?
Searching through the Bible, I found many powerful promises and verses full of comfort. But these verses in Luke 12:4-7 (CEB), in particular, really stood out for me.
“I tell you, my friends, don't be terrified by those who can kill the body but after that can do nothing more… Even the hairs on your head are all counted. Don't be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7 (CEB).
Jesus has solved it
Jesus’ own words from 2000 years ago still apply today and gave me an answer just when I needed it. He was hated and persecuted during His time on earth. But in the middle of this, He knew that God had a good plan for Him, and for us who would follow Him.
It is as if He knew how easily I forget and need to be reminded. In order to save us, He took upon Himself the same body of sin as we have (Romans 6:6) and was tempted just like we are. He personally suffered, overcame sin, set an example for us, and opened a way back to our heavenly Father. And Jesus knew for sure that those who believe in Him can follow His example, and share eternity with Him. Therefore, He comforted us by saying that death is nothing to be afraid of.
He had already thought about my worries, and He gave me the answer I needed.
“Even the hairs on your head are all counted …” Luke 12:7 (CEB). Jesus must have experienced this again and again. The world around Him was very uncertain. A group of people worshipped Him as the Son of God, but soon afterwards the same people were stirred up to hate Him so much that they wanted Him to be put to death on a cross. In all these things, He trusted God and learnt to say No to His own will, obeying God instead.
Jesus trusted God completely, instead of trusting in His own strength and understanding. He learned that no one could harm Him unless God allowed it. God was His Father who truly cared for Him in all situations of life. He was obedient to all of God’s will, fully confident that God was in control, and this gave Him a deep peace! Now He is raised up, and sits at the right hand of God, and He prays for us. (Romans 8:34.) He prays that I can also trust in God and receive the same unshakable peace and the same hope for eternal life.
The apostle Paul was a man who gave up everything to get the same life as Christ. He also faced difficult times with an unshakable faith.
In all kinds of difficult situations, he always found opportunities to give his body “as a living offering, holy, pleasing to God”. Romans 12:1 (BBE). He stayed in love, and continued to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things. (1 Corinthians 13.)
He must also have been tempted to worry, fear, discouragement and bitterness. He experienced all kinds of trouble, but was not crushed, he says. He saw these situations as opportunities to win eternal glory and, rather than give in, he said No to the sin he was tempted to and overcame. He wrote, “We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NCV).
Instead of being worried that “these bad things might happen to me”, should I not be glad about the fact that I can win something eternal in every situation I come into today? I can overcome unbelief, discouragement, worry, and I can stay in love and hope, whatever happens. This is how I can get the fruits of the Spirit like patience, goodness, peace and joy, and an eternal glory that God has prepared for me.
God is in control
At the moment the world seems dark. Words like “threats”, “terrorism”, and “killing” are often in the news. People are dying and suffering. I know no words can truly describe the shock and pain that the victims and their families are going through. As I use God’s Word to build up my own faith, I also sincerely pray for them.
Jesus has warned us about these terrible times we are facing. “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,” which is only “the beginning of sorrows”. Lawlessness will become more and more before Christ returns. (Matthew 24:6-14.)
Many things that are happening now cannot be understood. But God promised that all sorrow and all evil in this world will come to an end. Jesus will come back to destroy all evil, and His Kingdom of peace will never end. (Isaiah 9:7.) As for those who bring this destruction and evil to the world, God says clearly what their end will be. “The end of the sinner is destruction.” Psalm 1:6 (BBE).
While many are fighting against terrorism in their own way, I can fight against fear in my own life. The Bible does not promise that I or someone I love will never be affected by terrorism, or any other unexpected crisis in life. But it does promise that I can follow Christ, no matter how the world is changing or whatever happens to me.
With God at my side, I will never give in to fear, hatred, suspicion or unkindness which will only bring more uncertainty or destruction into this world.