(I have been blessed with proofing work, which is why I have not regularly written on the blog lately. But I did want to get this in before I started today's assignment.)
"They're coming for us."
"ISIS is here already."
"They're going to sneak in with the Syrian refugees."
These, and other expressions of fear, are what I've read on social media in these days that have followed the attacks on Paris. Yesterday, a crowd of people paying tribute to the victims at the Plaza de Republique ran screaming in panic after what sounded like gunshots. They turned out to be firecrackers. Police activity at a Paris hotel also turned out to be a false alarm.
People are afraid, and I'm not surprised. In the days that followed 9/11, people were afraid.
I don't underestimate ISIS. I think they do have more tricks up their sleeve. It would not surprise me one bit if they had plans to attack the United States somehow, somewhere. They may already be here. I don't know.
But somehow, I just have this gut feeling that these responses of fear are just plain wrong. We're missing something. We're leaving something out.
In the book of 2 Kings, chapter 6, there's a story of the prophet Elisha and his unnamed servant. At that time, the king of Aram was at war with Israel, and Israel seemed to know every move that Aram made. The king was told, "Elisha the prophet tells the king the very words you speak in your bedroom."
The king's response (paraphrased) was, "Go get him!"
Which the army did. They found Elisha and his servant in Dothan. When Elisha's servant looked out the window, he saw the army and cried out, they've surrounded us!
Elisha told him, don't be afraid. There are more with us than there are with them. And he prayed that God would open the servant's eyes . . .and when He did, the servant saw chariots of fire around the army.
I don't know if God works the same way today as he did in the Old Testament. I haven't seen chariots of fire lately. And it may be that he won't protect the United States of America the same way that he protected Israel, or Elisha.
But I do believe that, for those who belong to God, there are more with us than there are with them. Maybe those that are with us will supernaturally protect those who belong to God. Or, maybe they will just walk with God's people as they experience whatever hardships they experience.
I'm reminded of a song we sometimes sing in church by Don Moen, He Will Come and Save You:
Say to those who are fearful hearted:
Do not be afraid.
The Lord your God is strong
With His mighty arms
When you call on his name
He will come and save.
He will come and save you
He will come and save you
Say to the weary one
Your God will surely come
He will come and save you.