In the middle of the night, I awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind was replaying a few scenes for my WIP (work in progress) and I decided to get up and type them into the trusty laptop (this does NOT happen often–I like to sleep). My g-mail account flashed on the screen and the first thing I saw was a four-word email sent from my son’s phone: Are you guys okay? He’d sent the message at 2:51 in the morning, France time, from his phone in Georgia, USA.
And I thought, “Why wouldn’t we be okay at 3 in the morning?” So of course, I clicked on CNN and saw the headline: Paris under Siege. I spent the next thirty minutes reading of the horror. And praying. I didn’t get much sleep after that. I called Paul in Lyon (it is no fun to be far apart at times like this) and woke him up. He assured me he had already talked with our workers in Paris and that they were safe.
But so many were not.
This is the world as we know it now. Terrorists massacring hundreds of innocent people.
On a much smaller scale internationally, yet on an important individual scale, yesterday, a precious family who has been part of our mission agency for years left the country where they serve. Burnout? Lack of finances? Family problems? Nope, none of those. They were expelled; they learned in September that their visas had not been renewed, and they were given 60 days to leave the country.
The day before yesterday, a seventy-year-old widow with more energy that most twenty-year-olds wrote to confirm her ‘retirement’ from her country of service after almost 20 years of truly amazing work among refugees at a Christian Coffee House called ‘The Oasis’. Even as she wrote, she was heading to another European country to visit some of the refugees who had come to Christ through The Oasis over the past 20 years.
This is our world. A world of uncertainty, a world of terror, a world of refugees seeking somewhere to call home. A world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of this world.
One worker in Paris told us that his daughter had performed last year at the venue where over 100 people were killed last night. He will be out in his neighborhood today, doing what he does so well, loving people. Scared, shocked, lonely, afraid people.
But it costs them something–all of our workers, all of us who call ourselves Christ-followers.
It costs us love, 24/7, with open hands to God’s plans in the midst of uncertainty.
As we love, during terrorists attacks and refugee crises and expulsion from a beloved country of service prematurely, and going about whatever God has given us to do this day, we reaffirm that, even as the world as we know it implodes, we trust in the One who not only knows the world, but created it and is at work in it and assures us that He will never leave us. The One who says, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”
We continue on, certain of His love for us so that we can pour out His love on an oh-so-needy world.