I’m having a discouraging evening in the pregnancy department, so I’m going to veer off the beaten path a bit tonight…
I was scrolling through Facebook this afternoon when I came across a post from Jeremy Courtney, the founder of Preemptive Love. This organization is amazing, and I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to learn about the work they are currently doing in Fallujah, where their efforts to provide food and water to displaced families have gone on tirelessly since May. In the past 48 hours, Preemptive Love staff were caught in the middle of a major ISIS attack while trying to deliver 100,000 pounds of food to camps. By God’s grace, staff members were protected in the midst of an airstrike and fighting, but their efforts were thwarted, and their experience, harrowing.
I cannot imagine what goes through your mind when you are hiding in a ditch on the side of the road, knowing that harms way is well within reach. These men are selfless servants, and I’m so amazed by their determination to carry out the very hard and dangerous work that so many of us can barely fathom.
As I read Jeremy’s update on the situation, I reacted audibly to the news and Henry heard me. “What, Mama?” he asked. “Nothing, buddy,” I replied. “But what is it?” he wanted to know. “Just something that happened in another part of the world, honey,” I said. “Was it Turkey?” he prodded. I didn’t know that Jason had mentioned a bit of yesterday’s news to him earlier, so I pressed Henry to see what he knew without going further. “Dad said some bad guys bombed an airport and good people got hurt.” “Yes, buddy, they did.” “So what else happened that you’re sad about?” he wondered, snuggling up closer.
We’ve walked so carefully around the subject of world events with him up to now, but I always wonder when the conversation should become more…when he should know that there really is evil, and that there are good guys fighting evil in real life, every day. I shared a little about what had happened to the Preemptive Love team, as thoughtfully as I could without tip toeing completely. “But we’re lucky to live in a part of the world where these kinds of things don’t happen right where we are,” I said to him.
“Well, there are bad guys here, too, Mom,” he reminded me. “Like that robber guy the police caught…”
Kids are so smart.
“You’re right,” I had to admit. “There are. So we need to keep praying that God will protect us and good guys all over the world who are fighting the bad guys and trying to take care of other people.” Whew. Not the weighty conversation I planned to have with Henry in the middle of the afternoon, but I’m glad we could have it. I don’t want to pretend bad things don’t happen, even though I’d love to protect our kiddos from the realities of evil in the world just as long as possible.
Truth is truth. And when we know there is evil, we are also reminded that we need to pray harder for good to prevail.
Jason and I have been watching old seasons of The West Wing for the past few months here and there. We love it because it’s clever, moves at a good pace and engages us in political thinking that’s awfully refreshing (and often still quite relevant) compared to the current state of affairs in the political realm. Much has changed and much has stayed the same over the past 15 years, and while it’s a television show at the end of the day, The West Wing makes it hard not to pine after an administration with someone like Jed Bartlet at the helm. If only…
Last weekend, we watched a special episode aired at the beginning of season 3, just after 9/11 and in the wake of terrorist attacks on the U.S. In light of recent national and world events, and especially as we process world news from the past several days, I thought it fitting to share two short segments of the transcript from the episode, entitled Issac and Ishmael. When J and I watched it together, I was struck by how astutely the show’s writing articulated truths that we can still cling to today–in the face of what feels like never ending terror attacks all over the world.
GIRL 1: You know a lot about terrorism?
SAM: I dabble.
GIRL 1: What are you struck by most?
SAM: It’s 100% failure rate.
GIRL 1: Really?
SAM: Not only do terrorists always fail at what they’re after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they’re against.
BOY 1: Do you consider yourself a man of principle?
BARTLET [gently]: I try to be.
BOY 1: Well, don’t you consider…I mean, I know they’re our enemy, but don’t you consider there’s something noble about being a martyr?
BARTLET [pauses, considers the question]: A martyr would rather suffer death at the hands of an oppressor than renounce his beliefs. Killing yourself and innocent people to make a point is sick, twisted, brutal, dumb-ass murder. And let me leave you with this thought before I go searching for the apples that were rightfully mine: we don’t need martyrs right now. We need heroes. A hero would die for his country but he’d much rather live for it… It was good meeting you all.
For me, the script offered wisdom and even comfort, as I reflected on the fact that these tragedies do not stop the world from living, nor do they actually hand evil a victory. In a time when it would be easy to err on the side of hopelessness or desperation, the world comes together, fighting back in ways even stronger and more determined than before.
I don’t share this in lieu of a great hope in God’s sovereignty or presence in these situations. But I do share it in the face of evil, acknowledging that it exists and is real and causes great pain, and that the human spirit is far greater than the evil that stands in front of it. God made us to be a people of resilience and faith. May it be so.
Praying with the world tonight, that there would be peace, that justice would prevail, and that we would never lose sight of the One True God who sees us and knows us and calls us to trust Him, even when the world seems scary and backwards and upside down.