The news is rolling on with nauseating, disconcerting regularity.
Major terrorist attacks have occurred in Ankara, Beirut, and possibly the Russian plane crash in Sinai.
But it doesn’t stop there. Paris was hit in a major way for the second time in 2015 - on black Friday night 13 November where 130 were killed.
Then on 2 December 2015 San Bernardino, where Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, conducted a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Centre, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event, killing 14 and injuring 21.
No longer is terrorism limited to the Middle East and Third World. Instead, it has become a global phenomena, able to strike anywhere, at any time. Even far away Australia is under threat and has colour-coded terrorist levels.
This leads to a very pertinent question: Is there anywhere in our world that is safe anymore?
In the natural, the answer is ‘No.’ Terrorism is a very portable, often low budget, act of violent political criminality. There appears to be no shortage of willing volunteers who are prepared to die to make their point. This renders the challenge of stamping out terrorism even greater
In running holy land tours, it is amazing how some Christians capitulate to fear and evil reports, often as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to negative news. One man who signed up for a tour in April had his son in his ear incessantly ‘Don’t go … not safe.’ He immediately obeyed the son and cancelled his registration. The majority, who did not cancel, went on to have the trip of a lifetime.
People of Biblical faith are not to be guided by evil reports; they are guided by the Holy Spirit and Word of God. If you don’t pray about a course of action and put your trust in God, then you will be ‘in the flesh’ and subject to the manipulation of fear.
So how should people of Biblical faith respond to this obvious threat?
PROPHESIED: 2 Timothy 3:1 says that the latter days will be perilous. This is to be expected in a fallen world where Satan is the ‘god’ (small ‘G’ - II Corinthians 4:4) and ‘prince’ (small ‘P - John 12:31’) of this world, especially as we get near to the end. Satan knows his time is short and he will work hard to make the most trouble that he can. Being aware of the problem takes you half-way towards the solution.
POWER OVER THE ENEMY: The Bible also affirms that we have powerful weapons of warfare that can bring down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4), overcome the world (John 16:33), and give us ‘the victory’ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Indeed, we have power and authority to make the devil flee from us, merely by resisting him (James 4:7).
FEARLESSNESS: No where in the Word of God does it say we should be afraid. The phrase ‘Fear not’ is used in the Authorised Version 63 times; ‘be not afraid’ 26 times, and ‘peace’ 429 times. The only fear you should have is the ‘fear of the LORD.’ One famous Christian quipped that when you have the ‘fear of the LORD,’ it cancels out all other fears.
DEAD & ALIVE: The purpose of terrorism is to cause fear, thereby manipulating people and governments to do what they normally would not. Biblical believers have a strong basis for their fearlessness: the power of the Spirit, the Cross, and the constant presence of God. Importantly, we are already ‘dead in Christ’ and ‘alive in God’ (Romans 6; Colossians 2). Dead men don’t sin and cannot be afraid.
PROMISE OF REFUGE: In both testaments there are promises of preservation during times of trouble. These include Noah’s ark, Isaac’s Rehoboth, Joseph’s storehouse, Ruth’s wings of the LORD, David’s Cave of Adullam, the psalmists secret place & hiding place. Jesus promises a way of escape to the prayerful and patient in Luke 21:36 and Revelation 3:10. We don’t get to this refuge by normal transport; we arrive by faith.
We should be mindful and prayerful about current events and future prospects, but, like Joshua, we should be ‘strong and of a good courage’ (Joshua 1:8-9).
With so many living in anxiety and fear, the promises of God are more solid than Gibraltar. You have been given some powerful tools to overcome fear and enter into the secret place.