My first firsthand experience with fear.
All of these places above have special significance in my life for one reason or another. Some much more personal than others.
The New York Twin Tower Memorial reminds us of the day that life changed as we knew it. This is the first day fear of the world we live in crept in for me. As we all watched we were in a state of confusion, denial and fear. This day led so many to their knees. Our knees was the only place we could find comfort because we couldn’t find answers. The irony is that He is truly the only answer and we do find Him on our knees.
When I lived in the UK I visited Paris. It was an amazing trip. Paris was full of beauty and life….full of love! Though in Paris is when I experienced my first personal encounter with fear of the evil present in world we live in. The above night picture was taken in 2004 of the Eiffel Tower AFTER we had been evacuated from the 3rd level. I was working overseas teaching school on an American Air Force base. One thing they drilled in our heads was safety protocol when traveling abroad. (I lived there post 9/11.) As we received word to evacuate panic set in. Crowds were moving quickly. No one knew why we just knew to get down. Thoughts of 9/11 filled my head and I wanted on the ground. The elevators were full and lines were long. We opted for the stairs. Thankfully, the crowds moved quickly and cautiously. We made it down without chaos. Once we got down we, moved far away and rested. We were tired and worn out from the adrenaline that moved us to safety. The precautionary evacuation was ordered because someone had entered a restricted area and had taken a weapon from an officer when confronted. It was small incident compared to where my thoughts led me while on top. I was thankful to be on the ground and thankful to be alive. I know that my thoughts wondered at this time to ‘Why?’ As my thoughts again wonder – ‘Why?’ It sent me to my knees looking to Him for answers.
2005 was the year of the London attacks. I was in the States for the summer but was to return to my home in England a few short weeks after these attacks. I returned with fear and apprehension once again. The unrest in the world was a small part of my decision to move home in 2006. I knew God was in control but I also knew I wanted to be close to family knowing life is short… We were seeing and are still seeing this played out in our world. The only place to be is on our knees!
Coming home did not keep me from the evil of this world. Media continues to make sure we see it day in and day out. Then, in April of 2013, I was in Boston. The picture above was taken at the finish line of the Boston Marathon 12 minutes before the bombs went off. Evil had struck again and this time it was too close for comfort. Scared and fearful once again, but I knew Who was in control and Who I belonged to – God. This day forever changed me and became part of my story because it is part of me. God’s faithfulness and God’s hand can be traced through the whole journey. They can be read here: https://thenextmailboxboston.com/2013/04/
July 7, 2015 – Chattanooga, Tennessee – My home. My running stomping grounds. Another day of evil etched yet again the minds of Americans. Our world was getting smaller. This was home. We had run the area where five service members lost there lives. My Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt was run next to the U. S. Naval Reserve center. This was once again too close for comfort. Down on my knees again….
Fast forward to yesterday and to Paris. 11/13/2015. A date that will be engraved in the minds of so many forever. A day like so many since 9/11 that have changed so many lives – and the world we live in as a whole. Evil is present in this world…but so is God. We find Him on our knees.
As we search for answers, the world won’t have them. There are two things that are VERY real – Evil and Good! Evil is present! But, Good is here – all around. We hear of amazing stories of kindness and goodwill after every tragic event. These tragedies are becoming so common in our world. 9/11 was when we woke up to the possibility and now it has become our reality.
What is the answer? I don’t know why; but I do know that my comfort and joy in these evil days comes when I am connected to the source of life – Jesus Christ. I can only tell you from my experience and my journey – He is real to me and in the deep dark times – mine and the world’s – He is the light and hope that gets me through. It is my relationship with Christ that make each day good even if it is filled with evil. I know this is not my home because He has saved me by grace – even when I didn’t deserve it. As a friend of mine from France said today when I messaged her to see if she was okay – “Very scary reminder to remember Love and how precious gift is Life.” Here is a small excerpt from my Boston Bombing post to wrap it up:
Hug your family, your friends, your kids. Tell them you love them! You truly never know when you many not be able to. And if you don’t know our Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior – don’t wait! He is the comforter, the counselor, the father and the SAVIOR!
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
On my knees….Trish
As I was trying to eloquently state what I know the truth to be, I searched out the expert of our day – Billy Graham. Here are his words that cover the topics so well:
Excerpt: Third, the Bible tells us that in the meantime, God can give us victory over evil. This doesn’t mean bad things will never happen to us—but even when they do, we can know God is with us, and He will give us strength to stand against them. Isn’t it better to face life’s problems with God rather than without Him? No, we may not understand everything that happens to us—but when we know Christ, we know we are on the winning side. Why not commit your life to Him today?
Excerpt: All things are not good. It would be mockery to say that they are. The death of a child is not good. Cancer is not good, drug addiction is not good, war is not good, blasphemy is not good.
But the Bible says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”(1) In the chemistry of the cross God takes things that, in and of themselves, are bad, and He puts them together, much as a chemist might take chemicals that, in and of themselves, may be deleterious and mixes them to make a medicine that brings healing.
Many of us have some salt with our meals. Table salt is made up of both sodium and chloride. By itself, sodium is a deadly poison, and so is chloride. Put them together, and you have table salt. Salt flavors food, and a certain amount of salt is necessary for health and life. We cannot live without some salt in our systems.
God can take things that are bad and put them in the crucible of His wisdom and love. He works all things together for good, and He gives us the glorious, wonderful promise that He will do so.
We know that we have victory over sin and over Satan, but this verse in Romans teaches us that we also have victory over our circumstances. It says that all things work together for good.
Excerpt: In suffering there is also, I believe, a message of warning. Are you prepared to meet God? What do you have to do to be ready? God took the initiative in giving His Son, Jesus Christ. God says, “I love you. I want to forgive you. I want you to go to heaven.” But you must respond to Him. Find hope, peace, and security today.