You guys. These last two weeks.
We went from the War on Xmas to watching a literal war unfold across the entire globe.
Twelve years ago. I went to college in Florida with a sweet blond girl who loved Jesus in a way I had rarely seen in my 18 years. Last week. Her sister was attacked and shot in her home. A short coma later. She is no longer with us.
I met with a dear friend this morning for coffee. She talked about police knocking on her door last night in the late evening. Asking her if she’d seen anything unusual. She was alone with her kids. There was an armed man on the loose in the neighborhood. There were gunshot victims.
The media keeps telling us that terrorists are walking across our borders disguised as desperate refugees. So much hate. And racism. And fear as a result.
It’s easy to be fearful.
It’s tempting to lock my doors. To turn off all the sources of information. To pretend we’re safe. I want to wrap my babies in figurative bubble wrap. Never join the real world with all its killing. ugliness. hate. It’s okay, babies. Nothing’s wrong. Stay here.
But what good would that do?
I have a secret for you. Come closer. I’ll whisper it. I’m not going to make it out of here alive. Neither are you. So far the mortality rate of humans is 100%. Those aren’t good odds.
In 2008 and 2009 I was in college. We had begun to see the economy collapse around us. Futures were uncertain. We were students with degrees like Women’s Ministry or Biblical Studies. These would suddenly be no longer marketable. We didn’t realize it at the time. I remember a professor who saw where we were headed. He told us things were going to be worse for us, for our nation, in the coming years.
But, he saw this as good. He said that our faith carried the only answers to disaster. To hardship. To a violent world. When the world is searching for an answer, we have it.
Do not fear.
Jesus reminds us over and over. Do not be afraid. I have already conquered evil. Death is not the end. I’ve defeated it. There is more than this.
I wish this meant that I knew everything will look better in a minute. But we know this isn’t true. Look at the world! Sweet, innocent children fleeing war are looking for a home. They are met with hatred instead. We watch as child after child is killed with a gun. Senseless acts. We pretend our threat comes from “outside.” Yet we’re killing our own. Our “safety” is not a thing. It’s an illusion.
No. I don’t offer easy answers. I can’t say, “Come over to my side, we’ll cling to our faith and ignore reality. But at least we’ll be happy.”
But I can say this: Friend. Don’t fear. Jesus defeated death. We know this is not the end. He died in place of me. In place of the ugliness inside my heart. My worst enemy. I don’t have to stay there. I can live in that freedom. I can give grace and refuge to those who need it.
Don’t fight terror with fear. Fight it with boldness. With love. To those around you. To those across the world.
Friend, don’t fear. Breathe. Find peace within the hope of Jesus. It’s only going to get worse. That doesn’t change the fact that he. is. in. control.
Turn off the news. Look for ways to help. Practice peace and love. Breathe. And repeat.