A coworker of mine had a gut-wrenching conversation with his ten year old daughter who was struggling to understand why anyone would bomb a crowd of people at a marathon. It was one of those times wherein daughters look to their fathers as the one who has the answer to everything. He didn’t have a good answer.
In a conversation with my own son, he said events like the Boston bombing make him want to live in the woods and have nothing to do with people. I get that. My reaction was one of wanting to retaliate, to strike back hard and relentlessly. Neither reaction is a good one, but it’s where we are.
People are bewildered, shocked, depressed, frightened, heartbroken. Those close to the events busy themselves with their specialties, treating wounded, cleaning up debris, repairing damaged structures, analyzing evidence.
The FBI has declared this a terrorist attack, while the president is unwilling to do so. For them, it’s enemy identification time. “Who did this? Who is responsible?” Consider my own gut reaction. Retaliate! Okay, but against whom? We don’t even know who the enemy is here.
Hear Paul’s words to the church at Ephesus:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We can bomb one another to the stone age, turning entire countries into plains of glass, and it won’t solve the real problem. We have identified the wrong enemy. We think it is the guy standing in front of us with his rifle, or his suitcase bomb. It isn’t! Our battle is not in this realm.
I want to stay safe. I want to protect my loved ones, and I will do so to the best of my ability, but I need to understand that this is a war fought not on the dirt under my feet. This war is in the heavenly realms, and it has to be fought with weapons that are effective there.
As you ponder this battle, be of great courage. Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
Isaiah 43:1b – 3a
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Victoriously in Christ!