I work in NYC and last night I got a group text that I didn’t want to see. It was a warning from a friend of a friend who works at the Pentagon, telling us to stay away from the subways because they had gotten a threat that the subways were being targeted for a terrorist attack.
Now obviously no one wants to get that news. But as someone who has suffered from anxiety I didn’t want to hear that.
The cool thing about the Holy Spirit and time, is that I was not afraid. For once I was not afraid. Now granted I take medicine for anxiety. And granted I have walked a journey with God where I was in the midst of the worst bout of anxiety two years ago. But I was happy that my spirit kicked in instead of my flesh.
This is not to praise me. This is to praise God.
You see in the seasons where you are suffering you are planting seeds that you will harvest later on. Meaning I learned in a dark season what it means to pray and rely so fully and completely on God in the midst of feeling like your world and your mind and your body are falling apart.
But in the moment. In the group text. People were saying thanks and preparing to avoid the subways and something in me, I believe the Holy Spirit, prompted me to reply: “No weapon formed. I pray against the attack, for a change of heart. For the perpetrators to encounter Jesus instead.”
I typed it so fast and without thinking that after I looked at my words I was like…wow. I’ve changed.
It’s so easy to panic. To let the work of terrorism do it’s worst and cripple us. To make us afraid to commute or to go out in public or see a movie or a concert or go to school. But I think ultimately, we need to remember to pray. I don’t want to be killed, no one does. But as Christians we know where we are going. And that is enough. And beyond that we know we can call on the name of Jesus and pray for the atmosphere to change and for people to have a revelation of God that will alter the course they are on.
I was prompted this morning to look up the salvation of Saul. You can look this up for yourself in Acts 9. Here is a portion from the Message:
Acts 9 (MSG)
The Blinding of Saul
9 1-2 All this time Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. He went to the Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.
3-4 He set off. When he got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?”
5-6 He said, “Who are you, Master?”
“I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”
7-9 His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days. He ate nothing, drank nothing.
10 There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.”
“Yes, Master?” he answered.
11-12 “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”
13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”
15-16 But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”
17-19 So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes—he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal.
I find this so comforting. Terrorism was in the Bible. As it said “Saul” or “ISIS” or any terrorism group was “breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill.” We see this today with beheadings or the random killings of any of God’s children, Christian or not we are all God’s children. And despite his rage and history, God stopped him in his tracks and changed His life.
Luckily nothing happened in the city today. I worshipped the entire ride to my Hillsong music as I normally do. I refused to worry. I prayed. And I don’t think it was just me who “stopped” the terror threat. I think it is all of us, praying diligently who can change the game. Who can advocate for people who are lost and thinking that what they are doing to people in the world is appeasing God and is the right thing to do.
Instead of worrying I want to pray for a radical salvation within terrorist groups. I want Jesus’s name to be lifted above all.
As my Colour Invitation for this year says I want love to be the last great thing to shock the world.
I know Jesus isn’t worried about the state of things. I always want to remember that. And I want to pray for radical conversion and miracles to occur in the hearts of the people who are committing these heinous acts of terrorism.
Jesus can stop anyone in their tracks and set them on the right path.
Let’s believe for it.