Letter bombs, suspicious packages, and airline travel threats have headlined the news recently, and there have been terrorist threats in Germany. Security measures have been stepped up and threat levels elevated. With reports like these in the news, what response can bring the assurance of safety and end the prospect of a terrorist strike?
I feel a responsibility to pray rather than just wait for the next newscast. Likely, many are joining me in this response. Such prayer is able to fill one’s thoughts with the brilliant light of divine Love’s illumining, informing presence. This inspired view can lead to practical action, replace fear with spiritual conviction, and defeat dark aggression. Taking this standpoint helps me see the reality of God’s ordered, stable, reliable presence. God promises us, “I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people” (Lev. 26:12). God’s power doesn’t compete with or struggle against evil; it defeats it.
A recent commentary in The New York Times suggested that the number of successfully foiled terrorist attacks can be attributed mostly to good luck, but then goes on to say that sooner or later luck is likely to run out (“Long Live Lady Luck,” Nov. 6). I don’t want to resign myself or anyone else to fatalism, or believe that some will be lucky and others won’t. As a lifelong Christian Scientist, I’m accustomed to turning to God regularly for help, healing, and direction. Through many experiences, I’ve become convinced that God’s love isn’t hit-or-miss. His love for His children doesn’t crumble away when times get tough. It’s rock solid – a present help that we can depend on. And I’m certain that it operates untiringly and unconditionally for each one of us.
The Bible is full of accounts of men and women who prayed to God and who were delivered from the terrors of their day. It’s logical that God is as reliably knowable and provable today as He was then. The Bible says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (II Chron. 16:9). This gives me an image of a faithful God, a fully wise and alert Father, omnipotent in power. He knows our pure innocence and is ever ready to shield us when and how it’s most needed.
It might be easy for some of us to be unconcerned about global terror because we live in places that don’t feel endangered. But any threat calls for healing, be it minimal or menacing. We might feel unsafe from local violence or crime, swamped in frightening financial prospects, or even irked at the prospect of more rigorous airport screenings.
Sometimes situations threaten someone we love. For instance, our daughter has been living in Berlin, and was there when the US State Department reported in early October that terror plots had been confirmed and would likely be executed in European capitals. She has lived in many places in the world, and I often find myself praying to understand more about God’s love and care for her. She knows how to pray, too, and when the threats were announced, she was able to help calm the fears of others.
Daily she rode the UBahn, Berlin’s subway system, to work and back as usual, and noticed tangible expressions of friendliness and calm among passengers, in contrast to the normal rushed rhythm of the morning commute. In a small way, we both were striving to face down, through prayer, the threat of terrorism. We turned confidently to God, knowing that He safeguards His children’s activities and is attentive to their movements.
As I’ve prayed about the situation in Germany, I’ve recognized that the unassailable potency of God’s active presence is forever at hand. When plots and threats of attack try to claim the day, regardless of where we call home, I’m learning I can respond by seeing that God’s law of love shelters everyone, everywhere.