In the aftermath of the tragedies in PARIS, I write with a broken heart, but not without hope, I am troubled, yet deeply grateful.
It is this quandary that has sparked an outpouring of thoughts and insights that I feel compelled to share with regard to the events of the past few weeks.
The day seemed like any other day. Each of us have our own “stuff” and it’s the same for me. some of my biggest challenges may be physical disabilities and yours may be something totally different, but God is still faithful. This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful because I can say what millions cannot, I am SAFE. Love and cared for, food to eat, medical care, a roof over my head and SAFE.
I think back to those initial moments of realization as my mind was a whirling vortex of memories and an emotional tidal wave that was threatening to crash in like a flood…
It seemed like I was instantaneously transported back to that pivotal moment in time when I learned that planes had hit the twin towers and like so many others, I will never forget it. My husband was supposed to start work at the World Trade Center a few months prior and would have been working on the 23rd floor, but the day before he was to fly down and sign the final contracts, he was called for a last minute interview locally and hired on the spot. I am fully aware what a huge blessing that was and for that I am deeply grateful.
Likewise, I will forever remember the moment my mother’s voice said, “Anne, Paris in under attack”. I couldn’t understand but immediately began to pray and then I watched. Actually, I cried, I prayed and I watched as the eyes, ears and hearts of the world experienced the helplessness that comes with the role of observer, witnessing the raw pain of tragedy unfolding without any way to impact the outcome of the horror in those moments..
I have to admit that those scenes over the last few weeks have seemed to violate me in a way I never thought possible. How can that be when I was half way around the world, far from harm’s way? Afterall, I wasn’t one of the victim’s that had my life stolen out from under me. But then I realized that the enormity of the situation is far more sinister than I think most of us even have the ability to wrap our heads around.
It’s not because we haven’t had people commit these kinds of atrocities before, but for the first time in history, we were not watching a cloud of smoke and debris from a distance or trying to catch a glimpse at what was going on, we were actually seeing the events as they happened on live stream. Staring through the screen as bodies, faces, arms, legs being were strewn to and fro all over the ground, surrounded by first responders working in the midst of the chaos to save those that still showed signs of life. These weren’t just blank faces, these were mothers, sisters, daughters, sons. fathers, bothers, friends, and the list goes on and on… The expressions on the faces of family and friends crumpled over in complete shock and desolation, unable to absorb the life changing impact that a few moments of pure, unadulterated hate could bring.
That’s why the catastrophe that was unleashed on those unsuspecting victims in Paris was so devastating, that it can only be described as evil incarnate. With stealth like precision terror had hit it’s target and stolen something from all of us, the ability to believe that we had learned something from the horrors of the past, and we would never allow them to be repeated. The world was shaken and the aftermath is brutal.
BUT WAIT, as I began to feel the impact more and more deeply, and heard words repeated like, “Not since WWII…”, my thoughts came to a screeching halt almost as if by some divine intervention, God gave me the gift of opening my eyes. He allowed me to catch a glimpse from heaven’s point of view. All of a sudden I felt this warm covering of peace flow over my soul.
As I watched, I was reminded of that things that weren’t seen with human eyes. I could see an army of heavenly hosts released into action by the prayers of the faithful, in response to the evil and hate others had embraced. They were gathering the wounded and helping carry them to safety, deflecting bullets and debris from killing others, keeping the tragedy from being any worse, tenderly ministering to the dying and ushering those who had accepted God’s gift of salvation, into their savior’s loving arms, heaven welcomed their homecoming, while simultaneously God’s heart was breaking for the ones who were lost.
Amongst them there were heavenly messengers who were gently gathering up the tears. Yes, I said tears. They were catching every tear and carefully placing each one into a heavenly chalice. They were collecting heaven’s tears. Angelic scribes were recording the trials of each precious life and even the loss of each numbered hair that fell as they were were torn away by blood and bullets forever to be recorded in the Heavenly Archives. Still others were simply shaking their heads in disbelief and sorrow as they ministered to the victims and responders, with expressions that begged the question, why do they hurt each other?
A concept I find hard to fathom but then there came a voice through the darkness filled with love and sorrow mingled, as God spoke. “I love my creation but they are easily deceived. The thief cometh to kill, to steal and destroy. It is the tragic price of freedom that I have given each the ability to choose. True love requires this freedom but it carries an eternal price for those who choose death and a lost eternity. The evil of hate’s stronghold can only be overcome by the much greater force of love and grace. The same grace that came through the death of my son, on a wooden cross to pay for sin, so all would have hope and the ability to choose an eternity in glory. Oh how I long that none would perish.”
It was in those moments of insight that I found the most comfort. God does not watch us from a distance, He’s up close and personal. And the only way that it is possible for Him to enter in, is through our invitation. Even God, can’t and won’t force His way into your life.
We have the freedom to choose life, love and grace or to choose to reject him. The only other option is to chose the author of hate, death and violence. No matter how pretty the package the evil behind it is the source you allow to feed your soul. You make the choice to participate with hate and the outcome is terror.
How could this kind of evil take a hold of someone, aren’t most people basically good? Aren’t we affected by how we are raised, the influences in our lives, the level of our understanding, YES. But it never negates our personal choice, the fundamental decisions of whether you listen to your conscious or your heart. The heart needs cleansing, it needs guidance to make right decisions, but the part of us that longs for meaning, purpose, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, that part is often shut off or set aside in favor of our emotions. That’s why those taught to hate at a young age are so passionate about their causes whether here in America or around the world. That is why I was so struck by the thought that in the midst of every tragedy, from the small child alone and lost, to the destruction of so many lives in Paris, or even the war torn areas of the world, God is not absent, He is there and he cares. But how do we know that?
As one who has chosen to put my faith in God, I still have to live in this world and I promise you I have cried my share of tears, A LOT of tears, but through this He has helped me find a new intimacy with Him that I would never know if I hadn’t had to go through the trails like my current disabilities. If I hadn’t had all these hours, days, months, over 6 years, of sitting alone, all alone, with Him. There were times when I had cried so many tears I was certain that my eyes would permanently bulge out giving me that “deer in the headlights” look and that God must be getting tired of listening to me weeping day after day.
TRUTH: I have come to understand that God cares SO MUCH that not only does he listen, but the fact is that God so closely feels our suffering that the bible says that He stores our tears in bottles in heaven. Can you even imagine? God Himself, the creator of the universe, actually keeps a record of all my pain and trails and even stores all my tears.
I wondered why God would do this. Why did God care enough to keep track? After all, how many tears were and are being cried by those who call him Father, because of the tragedies around this world and in everyday life? I myself had cried so many, many tears, what could possibly be the purpose? As I pondered this the Holy Spirit revealed a truth I had never really realized.
God not only cares so deeply about each of us that not even ONE TEAR that’s shed goes unnoticed, BUT He also promises in Psalm 126:5 that what we sow in tears, enduring sorrows and earthly trails, we will reap in joy. WOW! The God of the ENTIRE universe is such a God of order that He even keeps an account of our tears so He can fulfill His promise to us, tear for tear. BUT He doesn’t stop there. God has promised that our harvest will be great, much greater than the seeds we have sown.
I am convinced that a God who cares enough to being so personal and care about every tear that shed, is capable of healing our sorrows, comforting the grieving, and is able to work all things out for our good.
May you rest in the knowledge, that God is not “surprised” or frantically looking for an answer, Our Papa God, knew what we would need to survive this world’s evil long before we knew what we would face. He not only knows our need, but He knows how He’s going to fulfill our need. Rest assured that God is able!
May the God of peace be close and may you feel His healing prescience as you seek answers amidst the storms in your own life.
Next time I will return to finish my “Lessons” God has been teaching this “Old Chick”. And I invite you to leave a like or comment, or prayer request and I would be honored to pray for you.
Thanks for stopping by and have a blessed Thanksgiving!