This morning I had planned to write about gratitude and thanksgiving. I had planned to write that even in the midst of awful circumstances there is always hope. There is always something to be thankful for. This has been a theme in my life, always looking for the silver lining.
Like everyone else, I am horrified and deeply saddened by the events that have taken place in Paris. The most recent report I read indicates that at least 127 lives were lost in the attacks. In the midst of such carnage and violence, it is difficult and contrary to human nature to have a “grateful heart.” We all experience suffering in our lives, but for the majority of us, when we read news like this, it really puts our own suffering into perspective. Not many of us can say that we have experienced tragedy at the level that Paris experienced it this weekend.
Reading my Bible this morning, this passage jumped out at me and I began to pray that it’s words would reach the hearts of those impacted by the attacks:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Ps. 46:1-7).
As I think and pray on these things this morning, I realize that a message on thanksgiving is still appropriate today. We can be thankful that He is our refuge. We can be thankful that He is our strength. And we can be thankful that He is presently with those in trouble. The article I read mentioned how ISIS has taken responsibility for the attacks. The group has released a statement describing Paris as “the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe.” I am reminded that the cross is the ultimate symbol that God is with us in tragedy. Jesus understandings our suffering, because He willingly chose to suffer on our behalf that we might know His joy, His peace and His love. Let us continue to stand in prayer with the city of Paris and let us continue to carry the mark of the cross upon our lives.