#PrayForParis

image“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

“Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Hab 1:2-4, 12-13; NIV)

This is a selected reading from Habakkuk chapter 1 verses 2-4, and 12-13. Written around 2,600 years ago, it could well have been written today following the tragedy that took place in Paris where more than 120 people were murdered as terror ripped through the heart of France. Compelled to write something in the light of recent events, nevertheless, I will seek to remain sensitive and brief in what follows.

In times like these we, like Habakkuk from so long ago, often struggle  as we seek to reconcile the concept of a good, all-knowing, and all-powerful God who would permit the evil and suffering we experience in the world (theodicy). So, where is God to be found in the evil and suffering in the world? Right there in the middle of it. In suffering, God is with those who are suffering–caring for the broken hearted, binding their wounds, and saving the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18, 147:3).

God doesn’t say there will not be any storms in our lives, but has demonstrated that He will be there with us through the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). The concept of a good God does not depend on the absence of valleys, or shadows, or death. Indeed, we will experience these things in life as, “God makes the sun to shine on both the evil and the good, and causes it rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt 5:45). But with our hand in the hand of God, who never leaves or forsakes His people (Deuteronomy 31:6), He will guide us and lead us through the valley of the shadow death and, so, we need not fear suffering evil (Ps. 23:4).

With our hearts toward God and others, let’s continue to pray for peace, comfort, and restoration for the people in Paris, and that hearts and minds might be brought to the Lord as the presence of God becomes felt in their hour of need.

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19 thoughts on “#PrayForParis

  1. God is with the suffering in their suffering caring for them, healing them, and saving them as He walks with them through the storm. That’s a beautiful thing to keep in mind in times like these. #PrayForParis.

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  2. That was good. Yes, I agree with you….pray for peace and comfort…resortation. Suffering and anguish…truly it rains on the just and unjust, alike. We need to have our hearts ready.

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  3. What a good reminder during such tragedy. Sometimes it is difficult to know and understand that the Lord is always with us no matter what may befall us or those around us. It can be easy to lose focus and throw blame when understanding is just outside our reach. God is our refuge, and justice will prevail, but most of all we need to show the love of God to those in need, to those who have and are suffering and to come together and strengthen one another in Christ. #prayforParis

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    1. Yes, BettieJo–we shouldn’t lose focus and start throwing blame in our lack of understanding but, instead, trust in God. You are right, “God is our refuge, and justice will prevail, but most of all we need dos how the love of God to those in need, to those who have and are suffering and to come together and strengthen one another in Christ.”

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  4. John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” It’s not if you will suffer in life, but how will you suffer? How will you show others Christ in your suffering?

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    1. Beautiful heart, Velda! The human experience is at times so greatly marred by sin. I am reminded that there are those who do not love because they do not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8). As we consider the violence around us we should also consider the sinful nature of the human condition turned away from God. In Romans 1:28-32, Paul goes on to talk about the relational consequences of this condition where the depraved mind is turned away from God, in this way: “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they haven understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom 1:29-32; NIV). The heart turned away from God, is turned away from others as it is turned in itself. Jesus is the answer. A Christ curved heart is one that is curved toward God and others in love. Knowing God will lead to loving others, for God is love.

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  5. We live in a fallen world and it is heartbreaking of what has happend in Paris .
    My Prayers are that Good will come out of this evil . I pray that Gods mercy to abound and for courage and strength for the families of the victims . I pray that this event will bring many to repentance and salvation .
    I also pray for the terrorists , for repentance and salvation . That they will see the One True God and except him .
    I also petition God to remind us that Vengence is the Lords , not ours and that we are not to speak hateful words but words of truth and life that will lead to salvation .

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    1. That’s right, TJ! We pray for peace, comfort and healing for the victims; we also pray that the terrorists be brought to repentance and salvation as they come to know God in Christ. And I agree, we should prayerfully guard our own hearts with the love of God from hateful speech so that hearts and minds may be brought to the Lord. Amen!

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  6. Is this the same Paris and leading govt that said they would not support the U.S. After 9/11 , don’t get me wrong , it’s sad to see this happen to them or anyone but at the same time it’s strange to see the way a world view is changed by a local situation .

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    1. Lilbitathiest,
      The Time published an article on November 14th that you might consider reading titled, “How Paris Stood with U.S. After 9/11“. The header image shows French student officers around an American flag on display at the Trocadero square with the Eiffel tower in the background. The Time article quotes from the headline of an article published on September 12th 2001 by the popular French newspaper, Le Monde: “Nous sommes tour américains” meaning, “We are all Americans.” And, following the September 11 attacks, it is reported that then French president Jacques Chirac released this statement: “It is with great emotion that France has learned of these monstrous attacks—there is no other word—that have recently hit the United States of America. And in these appalling circumstances, the whole French people—I want to say here—is beside the American people. France expresses its friendship and solidarity in this tragedy. Of course, I assure President George Bush of my total support. France, you know, has always condemned and unreservedly condemns terrorism, and considers that we must fight against terrorism by all means.” In an article published on November 14th by the The Atlantic writes that, “The U.S. should treat France as France treated the U.S. 14 years ago—by helping the other wage prudent fights and warning its leaders against the rash decisions that trauma can lead to.” The Atlantic article goes on to say that Chirac would declare that France was neither pacifist nor anti-American saying, “We are not just going to use our [UN] veto to nag and annoy the U.S. But we just feel that there is another option, another way, another more normal way, a less dramatic way than war, and that we have to go through that path. And we should pursue it until we’ve come to a dead end, but that isn’t the case.” Were there other surrounding political issues involved? Certainly. Did France support the U.S. after 9/11? Definitely. Should we support France? Without reservation. One way we can do that as a nation is militarily; One way we can support France as Christians is through prayer–and that’s what I am encouraging here: #PrayForParis

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