I am in France this week taking part in a exciting mission with Pastor Marc Declaudure’s churches in three towns Saumur, Thouard and Ludun. I woke up this morning, like many others to devastating news headlines; ‘Manchester Arena blast: 22 dead and a further 59 people were injured’ after another suspected terror attack.
Although I was born in France, I have lived in the UK for well over 40 years and my wife and I raised our family here. The UK is our home.
I was in France in November 2015, when terrorists attacked Paris. And just like these last few days, I was in the middle of an exciting week of mission at my brother’s church then too and we were seeing incredible miracles, lives set free and people commit their lives to Christ.
We were full of excitement at what God was doing and then we heard the horrific news about Paris. Our hearts were broken, just as they are today for the people of Manchester, for all those who have been injured, for all those who have lost someone.
We are so thankful to live in a country that is able to respond quickly and with deep compassion in the face of a tragedy.
As Christians, we sometimes wonder what to say in the face of such a terrible situation. Today I am again reminded of the words of Psalm 37, this very same psalm that we read the Sunday morning after the attacks in Paris.
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
How can we pray?
Firstly, let’s consider people. Let’s pray for those who are fighting for their lives. Let’s pray for the families and those who have lost someone they loved. Let’s also pray for those who witnessed the attack and for the local residents who have to come to terms with this enormous tragedy. Let’s pray also for the medical centres who are working with the injured.
Secondly, we need to pray for wisdom for our Governments as they discuss and debate what happens next, that they choose ways and responses which are inspired by God and not necessarily their own intuition.
Thirdly, let us always go to God’s Word for our answers. His Word (John 1:5) says that the darkness in the world will get darker, but that darkness will never extinguish light. In fact, it says that light (His light) will continue to shine brighter and the darkness CANNOT overcome it.
That is where I get my strength and hope.
Let’s pray with passion for our world and all those who are suffering and grieving today.
And may God’s light, his in-extinguishable light shine ever brighter in the middle of the darkness we see.