The first time I saw Paris wasn't the last time I saw Paris. The photo to the right was taken on a trip with our son Steve. We climbed to the very top of the Eiffel Tower that September day. The photo below was taken along the Seine River with my cousin Terry. Each trip was memorable in its own way. The first time I visited Paris was on the way back from a trip to Spain with my husband. We had a one night stop over; just enough time to wet my appetite and resolve to return. After getting our luggage to the hotel, we hailed a cab and my husband told the driver to take us on a tour of this beautiful city of lights. He had been there a couple of times on business and once taught a class for IBM in Orleans made famous by Joan of Arc. I'd seen so many photos of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Louve, not to mention the beautiful bridges. I wasn't prepared to be so impressed at seeing these sights in person. Oh but I was! Awestruck would be a good word to describe my reaction to this jewel of a city.
We watched in sadness as the tragic events of November 13th unfolded. And this coming so soon after the horrific airline crash that took so many Russian lives. Where is the God of the Bible in the midst of such pain and chaos? Let me assure you; He's right here with us with all His love, grace and sovereignty. Our world is constantly in flux, continual change, but God is rock steady.
"Jesus Christ (God) is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8.
This is our one constant in life, this is the 'Rock' we cling to. The Lord has asked us to walk by faith, not by sight, to trust Him and to be not afraid. This is difficult when you see everything crumbling around you. It is always so helpful for me to remember that when my faith wanes, God remains faithful - II Timothy 2:13. Faithful to what you might ask. He remains faithful to His plan and purpose. God has never said that he'd reveal His plan according to our pleasure and timing or that we wouldn't suffer pain and sorrow in this world. He has asked us to trust Him. He set a plan in place before creation, He's always been - "In the beginning God..." Genesis 1:1
The Bible is a book of history, prophecy, hope and practical advice for everyday life. It is in fact, a literary marvel containing perfect prose and poignant poetry. The Bible explains and interprets itself. If you get confused, keep reading and studying. In time, a truth will come into view and you'll have learned precious insight to help you cope with this very difficult, stressful and evil world.
And then besides sorrow, there is the guilt that our human nature lays on us. I'm sure those responsible for the safety of others have a special kind of anguish when, despite their best efforts, they have failed. Maybe some in America feel a sense responsibility. Our President didn't listen to the advice of military advisors and pulled our troops out of Iraq before the country had stabilized. Saddam was a cruel dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and most of the world thought he had weapons of mass destruction. Our U.S. Congress was convinced and voted to help the Iraqi people gain freedom and live under democracy. The evil force was stronger than the good force and when we left, they became vulnerable to terrorists. Our present Administration's policy of 'leading from behind', the inaction of our President and lack of American leadership has led to a refugee crisis in much of Europe. This was predicted by several top military advisors and sadly has proven to be true.
And yet, not for a minute do I believe that God has turned His back on us or given up sovereign control over His creation. Somehow knowing this doesn't prevent us from wanting 'to do something'! We're given a clue of the trouble to come in the first book of the Bible - Genesis. In my book The God Who Sees Me (available on Amazon) I tell Hagar's story, mother of Ishmael. Abraham's wife Sarah forced her into the desert after she became pregnant with Abraham's son. You know how we women are; we don't like to share our man. The Lord met her in the desert to bring comfort. He told her that He would "...so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." He also said of the son she would bare...
"He will be a wild donkey of a man; and his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward his brothers." Genesis 16: 10 - 12
Ishmael was the beginning of the Arab race from which the Muslim religion evolved. Do you find these words in Genesis written thousands of years ago chilling? I do! We can't lose track of the fact that God came to redeem all people who would come to believe in him. This includes male and female, and all races from all nations; no one is excluded. God doesn't have labels for us, He calls us His children. One day we will experience the ultimate unity; we will be one in Him.
We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with radical terrorist jihadists like Isis. They have become very organized and determined to do great harm. Christians especially come under attack; sometimes they get their heads cut off! There has always been good and evil in this world and so often we feel completely powerless; we pretty much are in many ways. Since I first heard of the attacks in Paris, a melody and words of a song written by Bill Gaither keep running through my head. . .
"Fix your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace."
God's Living Word, the Bible, was given to us so that we could pass through the storms of this life and not have our ship sink! God does not always make sense of what happens, but He gives us a way to cope as we depend on His power when we have none of our own. Most of all, and best of all; we are His children and the love He has for us is without end. We are safe and secure in this love in terms of eternity.
"The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." Psalm 103:19
Of course the whole world wants to kill the bad guys. I must admit, these are my thoughts until I remember that we need to leave room for God's wrath.
"It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19
Often times the best thing we can do is take a step back and watch God at work. He has the perfect solution; we just stumble around. He is God, and we are not. I have nearly five hundred people in France who read my blog; share this with those you know.
Lord please comfort the hearts of those caught up in this terrible massacre in Paris. You are the God of peace and hope. Only you can take away the terror that reigns in this world.
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.