Thursday, June 30, 2016

Prayers for Istanbul

Sam arrived for morning coffee yesterday and was full of news. "Did you hear about all them people getting blowed up?" 

I had not. 

"It was in one of them places where we fought a war, I think. You know, you can't really fight somebody who don't mind blowing themselves up."

I pulled out my cell phone and opened the news app. Sam was right. There had been a bombing in Istanbul's airport.

42 dead. 239 wounded. 128 of the wounded are still hospitalized. 

The attacks were coordinated, much like the attacks in Paris. One of the bombers was shot, fell to the ground, and detonated his suicide bomb after he fell.

If the bombs are like those used in Paris, they were concentrated hydrogen peroxide bombs. The explosives are so volatile that a detonator is not needed. The friction of falling to the ground can cause the bomb to detonate. 

As Sam said, how do you fight something like this? People like this?

In 2016, Turkey has had eight terrorist attacks with 146 dead and at least 363 wounded already. ISIS has not claimed responsibility for these attacks, but is considered the most likely culprit.

Today, the families of 42 people will make preparations for funerals and burials. The families of 239 people will watch and wait as their loved ones attempt to recover from their injuries, both physical and psychological. 

A city will struggle to maintain the tourist trade after this attack. Istanbul's citizens will fear being in a crowd. Watch every person with a big jacket or a backpack. Look at people missing fingers and wonder if they are a bomb maker. 

Life has changed for the 14 million residents of Istanbul, and it won't likely be the same again.

Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, is a beautiful city and an international tourist attraction. It was a Christian city until after the Ottoman invasion. Now, it's Muslim, yet ISIS still attacks.

Theirs is not a war of religion, no matter what they say. Theirs is a war of terror, designed to gain power and territory.

I'm so tired of war and killing and hate. 

As I read about the attacks, I wondered when it will end. I knew the answer already. It won't. Not until Jesus comes back and calls us home.

We are broken people, marred by sin, and evil in all our ways. It is only the love of God than constrains us. ISIS shows us what we, too, could be, if not for the Judeo-Christian ethic that has been so much a part of our culture. ISIS shows us the extreme result of the devaluing of human life.

Scripture is clear that our first breath comes from God, and every breath after is a gift from God. It doesn't matter if we are Turkish, American, French, Muslim, or Christian, or any other persuasion. 

Life is a precious gift from God, whether we believe it or not. 

All lives matter. The taking of life matters, too. Whether we believe it or not.

We should be as enraged by the deaths in Turkey as we were by the deaths in Paris, but I fear we are becoming numb to the terror. Worn out by our outrage. 

A response is not optional. If good is to come from this terrible evil, God's people must respond with an outpouring of prayer and concern. We must be salt and light in this dark world. 

Today, let's pray that God will bring good from evil. I'm not sure how He'll do that, but I know He can. Pray that His name will be lifted up in honor and people will be drawn to Him in their pain and suffering. 

Pray that the Christians living in Istanbul can be salt and light to their fellow citizens. Pray for their safety.

I've prayed countless prayers for the warriors of ISIS to come to Him, and I'm still praying that, but, today, I'm praying God brings their reign of terror to an end. And quickly.

There will be peace one day, but only when Jesus reigns supreme. Until then, we carry on, and pray that His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 niv
picture above is of a bombed-out house in Israel.

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Showing the Inside on the Outside

#Istanbul #ISIS #prayforistanbul #disciple