Hope Through Terror
I felt sick to my stomach.
Nervous, scared, frightened, angry.
Terror had once again struck England, and the entire European continent. I was afraid, and immensely scared during those days. I could not imagine what the victims of the attack were going through; the pain, the loss, the terror- their lives would never be the same. I could see the terror in people’s faces as I walked down the street, I could feel the tension within everyone as security grew in the city and at train stations. England had been attacked just prior to this in London, and everyone was on the edge again. I knew I was. To make matters worse, my roommates and I would be traveling throughout the next couple of days. I no longer felt excited, but instead I felt great fear. Two days after the Manchester attack, I had a flight to catch. Luckily it was not from London, I thought. In the days approaching my flight I felt it, I felt everything. I felt fear, I felt sadness, I felt anxiety, and I was angry… I could not stop thinking about what had happened, and even worse, what else could happen. As soon as walked into town, I saw guards in places I had never seen before. I arrived to the train station, and I saw guards and policeman keeping the area secure, keeping the people safe from anything. There was a minute of silence held at the train station for the victims of the attack in Manchester, and in that moment I could feel the terror in everyone. When I arrived to the airport, once again, the policemen and guards were everywhere; I was highly questioned about my travels. England was on high alert. Terrorism had struck again.
A few days later, there was another attack in London. Days after that, there was another fear striking attack in Paris at Notre Dame. I had just been there. I had friends who had been there a day or two before. At one point, one of the airports I was at in France was evacuated because of suspicious abandoned luggage, that thankfully ended up being no threat. I kept receiving messages from friends telling me to be careful, calls from my family to make sure I was alright, and to know where I was. My head was spinning and I felt more fear than ever, but I also was angry at the situation. Fear like this is not something common back in the states, this is something that the European people had to deal with from time to time, and it never struck me as it did now that I was living here.
It was a time filled with terror, and it seemed as if darkness was unleashing through out the European continent. I had never faced so much fear to be in a public area, to travel, fearing for my life, fearing for my friend’s lives, fearing for terror to strike. Having no control over the inevitable, not knowing if at any moment my life could end or have a dramatic change. I could feel the anxiety kick in, and my chest would tighten at the thought of it. I could not stop thinking about it, in constant fear. I still felt angry at the situation, thinking about why people would do such evil, how could people inflict such terror and cause so much pain to others. I began to talk to God, I began to pray with tears in my eyes. I asked him to give me peace and to help me with my emotions that were going haywire.
Through times as such, there is very little that we can do. The inevitable is at stake, anything can happen and even our own lives are at risk. After I began to converse with God, my thoughts redirected and I felt a sense of peace and comfort knowing that my Savior had everything under control, that my life and my emotions rested in His hands. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, New King James Version). You see, we have absolutely no control over what can happen, we have no idea of what could be, and we don’t know what life can bring us. What we do know is that there is an amazing God who is always with us anywhere we are. My emotions felt at rest in the hands of God, and I felt a sense of relief through the turmoil. Although, I still felt impotent to the situation; realizing that there was nothing I could do to stop the evil and to stop the pain. It still brought me anger to think that such great evil was possible. But what can we do in situations like these, when terror strikes, when darkness takes over?
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you,
nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
(Psalm 91:1-16, NKJV)
Through the dark times, our hope is in God. In our anger, our peace is in God. When the world is falling apart, our faith is in God. There is no way in understanding why people do evil, and there is no knowing when terror could impose. As Christians, the only thing we can do is instill the hope and love of God in others. Be there for others who have been hurt through the evil, pray for the ones who were hurt, and trust that the peace of God will console the broken hearts. Our job is to continue to be a city upon a hill, a light to the world. Showing the world that there is still good in the midst of evil, giving hope to the ones who are in need. As Christians, we cant stop the evil-doers, but we can be the good the world needs by being loving, empathetic, kind, and Christ-like. In times of terror, that is what the world needs.
It was not easy for me to live through this fear, and although I have felt the fear of terrorism very few times living back home in the United States, it was never as frequent as it was while living in Europe. But I had to be brave, and I had to trust in my God Almighty. My hope was in Him, and my faith was in Him. Although my emotions ran wild, and I felt fear and anger like never before, I knew He was in control and that no matter what He was always with me, with us. In times of great terror, I would pray to Him, trust in Him, and always believe that God is greater than all evil. As believers in Christ, we need to have faith in Him, and continue to be the light in the darkness and the hope through the terror.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.