My heart goes out to the families of the 130 people ISIS terrorists massacred in Paris Nov. 13. They attacked unsuspecting civilians in one of the swankiest districts in Paris. Most of the victims were in a concert at the Le Bataclan Café—one of Paris’ most legendary clubs. Others were enjoying a peaceful dinner at several restaurants when horror suddenly struck.
Less than three weeks later a husband-and-wife terrorist team targeted a local government training event and holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 and injuring 22.
The terrorists achieved their goal of horrifying the local population and the world. The media attention they received is certain to inspire others to continue such attacks on “infidels” in the West. What happened in Paris and San Bernardino could happen in any Western city at any time.
The French vowed a “merciless response” and immediately began airstrikes against ISIS strongholds in eastern Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama pledged further efforts to defeat the Islamic State. But even if successful, will that bring lasting peace? Is more war only treating the symptoms of a complicated state of affairs in which the world finds itself?
Pope Francis called the Paris massacre part of a “piecemeal Third World War.” King Abdullah of Jordan made a similar reference to World War III. When terror strikes, world reaction varies from outrage to grief, horror and revenge—even to “Where is God in all this?”
Where was—or is—God in all of this? That’s a very good question and one we should focus on most. Most people ignore God and do as they please—until a tragedy strikes, and then they think about and blame God for what’s happened.
Western nations have drifted farther and farther from seeing the existence and sovereignty of God.
That’s ultimately why we are seeing these horrors and will continue to see them. As we settle from the shock we must understand the underlying causes that few want to talk about, much less do anything about.
A world unprepared
Terror attacks such as these have brought the convoluted Mideast violence closer to home, and we wonder how safe we are. Where will the next promised strike be? How can we be safe?
Syria is a nation that has exploded, spewing its poison across the whole world. More than 200,000 have died in a complex civil war with strange alliances that involve the most powerful nations of the world. Refugees are pouring out by the hundreds of thousands, with terrorists among them.
The world is unprepared for what’s happening in the worst way possible—having turned from the ultimate source of security.
At one time America’s presidents confidently and reverently sought God’s guidance. President Dwight Eisenhower began his 1953 inaugural address with an open prayer to God. He beseeched the Almighty to “give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby . . . so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory.”
President Ronald Reagan took the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 as the theme for both of his inaugurals. That verse poignantly reads: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (King James Version).
Instead, among its many other sins, America has thrown God and prayer out of its schools, killed more than 50 million children through abortion and condoned unnatural marriages and lifestyles condemned by the Bible.
What is the outcome—the consequence—for nations embracing such deeply ungodly actions? “Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive” (Deuteronomy 28:66, New Living Translation).
A day of reckoning is swiftly coming on this world. Unless people take action—individually and collectively—terrible things are in store. Paris, 9/11 and San Bernardino are but the beginning of sorrows.
The just shall live by faith
The ancient prophet Habakkuk pleaded with God to heal a sick nation. Prophets were sent to talk sense to the nation, but the people would not listen—as it is today. God’s response to him was not what Habakkuk wanted to hear.
Because of Judah’s lifestyle and godlessness, God foretold that the nation had to go through trauma induced by violent neighboring nations. These ultimately destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and the nation went into captivity. But Habakkuk stated that in the midst of national calamity, survival for the just was by faith: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).
The apostle Paul quotes this passage three times in his writings, underscoring that Christians live and survive by deep and abiding trust in God.
Jesus Himself tells us about the chaotic events preceding the end of the present age: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). What good news!
God offers us all a solution: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). You and I can choose what we want to do and what course of action we will take. But we cannot choose to escape the consequences of our choices!
The time is now!
The time is now for you personally to wake up to what is happening and what has been prophesied to come. The time is now to come to repentance before the God of the universe, who is offering you salvation—in your life now and for all eternity!
As the events of Paris and San Bernardino show, we live in deeply troubling times, and they will not just get better on their own. Our mission here at Beyond Today is to strongly preach a message of repentance, telling the world to turn from its sinful way of life, which is bringing all these calamities.
God promises security and safety for those who follow Him. As He tells us in Psalm 34:8 (New International Version), “Blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”