Mommy, will those bad guys ever come to our city and do that?
Normally, I don’t let my daughter watch the news, but the tragic events taking place in Paris came up in living color on our screen as Elf finished playing. We had planned our kick-off Christmas family movie night last night. We laughed at our joint desire to start celebrating so early this year. Normally we watch our first Christmas movie on Thanksgiving night, but this year feels different for some reason. We all want to start the yuletide cheer as soon as possible (and let’s be honest, Elf is just hysterical!)
So Elf finished playing, the kids started doing a silly dance to the credits, I smiled at my husband. And then we saw the headline: Over 100 dead in Paris attacks. “Mommy, what happened? Daddy, who did that? Are they coming here?”
We flipped off the news. Saddened, horrified and sickened we held our kids close. We shed tears for the traumatized broken hearted people across the ocean from us. I could hardly pray anything more than “God be with them.” I looked at my trusting blue-eyed little girl and her rapidly growing brother and told them that we didn’t know exactly what happened, but that her daddy and I would find out and tell them what they needed to know.
I wanted so badly to promise them that what happened in Paris will never happen in our little neck of the woods. But I can’t. And that breaks my heart! It makes me angry. It makes me sick.
Of course I told her what she needed to hear in order to sleep. I told her that God is still on the throne and that His heart breaks over the evil that happened in Paris. I told her that several of the evil men had been killed. I told her that her daddy and I are here, and that her big dog will stand guard all night. We prayed for Paris, we prayed for America, we prayed for safety, we prayed for peace. But then:
“Mommy, let’s pray for the terrorists.”
I’m sorry..what now?
“Saul was like a terrorist before he met Jesus right? He was killing people and he thought he was doing something good but he was really doing bad. But Jesus shined His light into Saul’s live and Saul was changed forever. Let’s pray that God shines His light on the terrorists.”
I could say nothing. I sat there holding my little girl’s hand saying nothing.
What I wanted to say was: No! No I won’t pray for them!!! They are evil. They are awful. There is no way they will change. They are too far gone.
“Mommy? God can do anything right?”
Ugh…why do children have to use our lessons against us.
So we prayed for the terrorists. One of us from a pure, child-like faith, trusting heart and one out of obligation. My little girl prayed that God would stop the next terrorist as he walked on the road. That he would be blinded like Saul was so he couldn’t hurt the next person. She prayed that many terrorists would come to know Jesus. She confidently asked her Savior to save those who are so bent on evil. I could only pray that God would stop them and intervene in this mess.
We said amen and she snuggled down, satisfied that she had done what she could do to stop the evil running rampant in this world. She smiled at me and said:
“Mommy, remember our Sunday school lesson from last week? You said that love wins. Love will win mama, cause Jesus wins. Goodnight, I love you.”
Wow. God spoke to me last night through the words of my eight year old daughter. The evidence of “child-like faith” has never been so clear. It is no coincidence that I have been writing curriculum lessons from Revelation this week. The week has been full of reminders that Love does indeed win. We wish it would win every battle. But Love will win the war.
I know today the truth of Love winning the war might not bring much comfort, not when the battle wounds and causalities are so high. But we must not give into despair. Love will win. Jesus will one day wipe every single remnant of evil from the face of the earth. The hands of love will lovingly and tenderly wipe every tear from every eye. There will be no more death, no more grieving, no more pain, and no more darkness.
We don’t know what the future holds, but let’s ask the One who holds the future to hold us tightly in His arms. Let’s pray earnestly for the people of Paris. Let’s pray for strong leadership. Let’s pray for courage and boldness and justice. And let’s even pray for Jesus to shine His light into the impenetrable darkness that is consuming those men and women so bent on evil. Who knows maybe another Saul is walking down the Damascus road even now.