The suicide bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, has stunned many people. When we think of “suicide bomber”, we don’t generally think of a civilized country. When such an attack comes in a developed, western nation, it might be understandable to think that nowhere is safe anymore.
Investigators will get to the bottom of this. I have my ideas about the root of this attack, which may be unpopular, but my purpose here is not to deal with the why. I want us to think for a moment about what we do about it.
Many people live in fear. For some, it’s irrational; they watch a newscast, and think there’s a terrorist hiding around every street corner. For most, though, it’s a slow-burning fear, a fear that the world in which we live is very different from the world in which some of us who are older grew up.
That is true, of course, and has always been true. Each generation comes with changes to society – we just know more about them in this wired world we live in. This time, though, it just seems overwhelming to some.
What’s a Christian to do?
Someone with too much time on her or his hands apparently counted the number of times in the Bible the phrase “fear not” appears, and that number is 365: one for each day of the year. I think God wants us to get the message.
Psalm 46.1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea” (NLT).
So we’re not to fear. As followers of Jesus, we understand that God is sovereign, that he is in charge. It won’t always look like it, and we can’t comprehend the mind of God. But he’s got all matters in hand.
That’s easier said than done, of course. It involves deep faith. It also involves an understanding that as Christians, we are not of this world. Our home is with the Lord; all this around us is temporal. While we should want to enjoy as much of this life as we can, we should not be afraid of what lies ahead if we name Jesus Lord and Saviour.
You may wish for your children or grandchildren that they didn’t have to face such evils as what we heard about on Monday evening in England. But that is all the more reason for you to impart your trust in the Lord Jesus to them. Some call it ‘shoving religion down their throats’. We call it fulfilling our baptismal vows. When we present our children for baptism, we are promising before God that our kids are going to be so immersed in the love of Jesus that their own profession of faith will be as natural as breathing. When that happens, they will not fear, either, just as we do not fear.
There’s probably a sermon in here somewhere, but these are a few thoughts about dealing with fear in light of the world in which we live. Trust Jesus, and you have no need to fear.