As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (Proverbs 27:17)
Read: Ezekiel 29:1-30:26, Hebrews 11:32-12:13, Psalm 112:1-10, Proverbs 27:17
Relate: As is normally the case on weekends, I was unplugged. Once I started heading towards home last night, I stopped the incessant influx of media, social or otherwise, and would have kept it off through tomorrow if not for the fact I had to meet with some parents and teachers today. “Isn’t it horrible?” Instead of the normal “günaydın” (good morning), this is the first thing I heard from the first teacher I saw. My first thought was “that I have to be in a school on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?” I knew, however that I would probably regret saying this outloud so instead I asked, “I haven’t heard. What happened?” Her answer and what I have later read is another story that is becoming all to distressingly frequent to truly be considered shocking:
While eighty thousand fans were watching France take on Germany in football (“soccer” for Americans), two explosions roared near two different stadium entrances. Even as a disorienting fear and confusion shook those inside the stadium, mayhem quickly spread on the streets. Multiple attacks quickly spread out from there in different directions causing fear and confusion making it tough this early on to have a clear picture of just what was happening. While there were people killed right on the streets, it appears that at least six locations were specifically targeted and all of them could be labeled “chic” or “touristy”. These terrorists weren’t just out for Parisian blood but wanted to make a global statement.
The worst of these sites was the Bataclan concert hall where an American rock band was performing. The initial attack here, accompanied by shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, killed at least fifteen people but another hundred or so were taken hostage. When about an hour later more shooting and explosions were heard at the scene police stormed the place trying to save the hostages. Although some were saved, for far too many others, they were too late. The carnage found inside by insane madmen wielding bombs and Kalashnikovs is the stuff of nightmare.
React: Although ISIS has released a tape claiming responsibility for the attack, those tape’s details were vague and leaves doubt on the matter. Most reports I’ve read at this point say that the early best guess points more toward Al Qaeda. No matter who it was, this attack can only be described as evil. The same can be said of the bombings in Beirut claiming the lives of forty-three people earlier the same day. We live in a broken, fallen world. No matter what their language, culture, background, and beliefs the friends and the families of these victims need our tears and compassion and prayer.
God, I pray now for the people of Beirut and Paris. I pray for everyone who has lost a friend or relative in these heinous attacks. Even as You bring them comfort, I pray that they would come to know the true, only Prince of Peace. I pray against the individuals and groups that had a hand this destructive evil. I pray that this violence would not met with retaliatory violence but rather with justice. Most of all, I pray that You would tear down the destructive mindset that is Islam and that the Middle East would be swept under by a revival torrent of Your love and grace and truth as millions come to know You as not just a prophet but also their Savior and their God.