Friday, April 28, 2017

A Little Bit of Real News (no fake allowed)


The terrorists are still at work. 

That should be no surprise to anyone, let alone me, but I'd taken a break from the terrorist event count and from most news sources.  The problem of discerning fake news from real has made it more trouble than it's worth to sort it out.

This morning, I remembered the terrorists. 

I was sad to find that the groups that didn't seem too efficient several months ago have improved their killing skills in a devastating way. There are new organizations and wider reaches. 

799 people have died this month as a result of terrorist attacks, in addition to 58 terrorists who've died as a result of their own dastardly deeds. That's an average of 30.6 people every single day.

Afghanistan, Australia, Columbia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Malia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and West Bank. They've all experienced one or more terrorist attacks with loss of life and destruction of property in the last twenty-eight days.

England, France, Greece, and Norway had terrorist attacks but no deaths resulted.

We were spared. Again.

I read through this bleak news and wondered where to find evidence of God at work. 

First, the terrorists are not winning every battle. Twelve of the terrorist attacks ended with no loss of life. The attacks in France, Greece, and Norway ended with no loss of life or injuries. 

Second, the terrorists' attacks are, in general, not as deadly as we might think. With an average of 8 deaths or less per attack, almost half of the attacks resulted in no deaths or only one death. (41 of 93 attacks) 

If someone I love is involved in even one of the terrorist attacks, it will be enormous to me. 

That truth was brought home recently when I spent time praying with a Coptic Christian from Egypt while I was in Jordan. On Palm Sunday, a terrorist attack on a Coptic church in her city left me wondering whether she'd been wounded or killed. Another 24 hours would pass before we knew it had not been her church and she had not been involved.

The wait made the personal devastation of this war with terrorists much more real to me, as if it hasn't been real to thousands upon thousands of people already.

Some attacks are never tallied. They're chalked up to "persecution" because no lives are lost. Property is stolen rather than destroyed. The attackers are acting alone rather than as part of an organization. 

There's more sorrow and grief in this world than we can possibly imagine.

These words come to mind as I ponder this great sorrow:

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NLT

Those of us who, for the moment, are spared have a a great responsibility toward the rest of the world. I'm personally sorry that I've allowed hundreds of lives to be taken so needlessly without taking note, without calling out, without taking a stand. 

The genocide in Rwanda, in which nearly one million people were slaughtered, happened over a period of 100 days. For the most part, the world was silent as people were slaughtered because of their ethnicity. 

We did nothing, and the killing continued. 

Friends, we may not be able to do any "tangible" thing as individuals, but we can do the one thing that matters most. We can pray that the destruction is limited, that the tactics of terrorists are divinely thwarted, that there will be no loss of life. 

Let's add this plea to our daily prayer: "Stop the terrorists today, Lord. Stop their destruction. Bring them to Jesus if they'll come, but stop the killing." 

"Remember... those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body." Hebrews 13:3 nasb
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