Watching the news reports about the bombing in Brussels, I remembered the words of Paul in his letter to a church in Ephesus, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power…so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
Those words best describe most of my thoughts. Everything about the events in Brussels are outside of my experience, outside my assumptions about what it means to be peace-loving people, and to be safe and secure in public areas in the major cities around the world. When terrorists attack and we face the horror of death and destruction, what do we do? How do we stand firm?
First, let’s look beyond the immediate thoughts and feelings of terror, horror, and fear. We know things are not right in the world. It’s as if something or someone has organized things against God. Moments like Tuesday in Brussels cannot be chalked up to differences in opinion or poor communication or someone’s likes and dislikes. It is called evil and evil is large, cosmic, organized, subtle, pervasive, and real. The struggle in which we find ourselves is real and dangerous.
Second, as Christ followers and as peacemakers, we have the opportunity to show our communities and the world a power that is greater than evil. I challenge all of us to stand firm in the faith, given to us by God, and not to abandon who we are as followers of Christ for the sake of convenience. We know that to do anything else is to give into evil. We must, in the midst of our vulnerability and weakness, stand firm in the strength of the living God.
If we stand in fear and react out of emotion, we give power to the evil that is not real or true. The people behind such acts of terrorism embody the evil of hatred and bigotry. At any given time, motivated by fear and emotion, you and I embody the same evil. Let’s not give into the intimidation.
Third, because of what we have experienced, we have the opportunity to join hands, if not hearts, with people across this country and around the world to become the global community that God has intended for us be. Evil can seem overpowering, yet God’s plan for creation is greater than any evil embodied in violence and terrorism.
When we come to the end of the day “having done everything,” we can stand firm. We can stand firm because we know that against all aggression there is the presence of God. Against all attacks, there is the promise of God. Against all evidence, there is the power of God. And against all odds…there is the victory of God. Thanks be to God.