We saw blood where it should not be–on the sidewalk and in a convenience store. But perhaps the most heart-wrenching piece of news was what I heard last night: an eight-year-old boy waiting to hug his dad was among the casualties.
The horrific sidewalk scene sobered me in another way. Just two days prior, I had been at the finish line of the Charlotte Racefest Half Marathon, in a crowd similar to the one where the Boston blast took place. I had run the last part of the race with my wife, and was trying to find her amid the sea of people. With me, nestled in a double jogging stroller, were my two precious children, ages 3 and 1. What if the twisted minds behind the Boston marathon bombings had chosen Charlotte instead? Are my children safe?
In CNN’s Opinion section, LZ Granderson’s editorial “It Can Happen Anywhere” offers little comfort. He writes, “All of the laws, the creation of Homeland Security, the trillions spent, the political grandstanding and debates and yet the best we can do is make the country safer. We will never, ever be safe again. Not in the way many of us remember being safe growing up.”
Granderson is reflecting the sentiment that many feel right now. No one knows when or where terror will strike. Our sense of safety has been violated. For all our protective measures, we are still vulnerable to deadly evil–in our schools, in our churches, at work, and even at play. As recent events have shown us, no sphere of life is exempt from the ravages of murderous intent.
Yet as a Christian, I must contend that events like this don’t make us any less safe–they only highlight our vulnerability. In terms of where ultimate safety comes from, nothing has changed. In the Bible I read that “the horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31, KJV).
Rather than despairing of our loss of safety, the Christian must respond to the horrible Boston bombings in a way that is informed by Scripture. As my eyes brim with tears, I offer six Christian responses to our heightened sense of vulnerability and outrage at this evil:
I will grieve with those who are grieving (Romans 12:15).
I will pray and trust that justice will be done (Luke 18:1-8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8).
I will recognize that I am (as I always have been) totally dependent upon God for the well-being of my children and me (Psalm 4:8; 127:1; Matthew 6:31-33; Romans 8:31)
I will exercise my God-given ability to use common sense and take precautions, but I will not let faithless fear bar me from doing God’s will (Matthew 4:5-7; Daniel 3:16-18).
I will long for the consummation of that coming Kingdom in which God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
I will more urgently tell others how God can deliver them from the domain of darkness, and transfer them to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).