“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
How do we respond?
How do we respond in the face of such incomprehensible malice and cruelty?
As I write this, thousands of Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities are fleeing for their lives.
The extremist group ISIS is literally hunting down these minority groups and committing the most atrocious acts of barbarism on man, woman and child.
Unfortunately, ISIS is claiming to be acting in “the name of God.”
This is reprehensible. What ISIS is doing has nothing to do with God, and they know it.
At the root of all of this, as with all human conflict, is pride, power and greed.
As I was praying this morning I said to God, “It is so easy to be afraid.” I wanted to know why. How could He allow all of this? Gaza, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria… Why? How?
It brought back my questions of “the Happy Ending”. Many of us live comfy, cushioned lives where we can moan and complain about bad WIFI signal and noisy neighbours. When we go through a hard time we are told, “It will all work out in the end.” – We spout trite, patronising phrases like that which mean very little.
It doesn’t work out sometimes. For many people right now, it really isn’t working out.
It is so terrible that I don’t think we can even fully understand how horrific it is. I imagine it must have been something like this when people heard about what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Today is also the Feast Day of St.Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan Friar who was sent to Auschwitz in 1941. After a prisoner escaped, 10 men were sentenced to death in punishment. Maximilian offered himself in the place of one of the men, who was a young father.
So what can we do? Pray. Pray. Pray. If we have the means to contribute to one of the charities working in Iraq currently, we can do that. Raise awareness. It’s amazing how little this is being spoken about.
The world is in pain right now.
Life is confusing. Life is raw. We push our boat off the shore and set sail. A storm rises up and our boat is tossed in the waves.
Christ calls us to step out of our boat. To walk on water. A seemingly impossible feat. It is only by faith that we can achieve this.
And now, in the darkness of this storm, we need to have faith that Christ will reach out and save us. Save us all. We need to believe that He will, because He will.
Through the eyes of God, all our human affairs are put into perspective. He sees us as children; Confused, uncertain, stubborn, foolish children. And He loves us.
He loves everyone… Even those committing the terrible acts of violence in Iraq. He loves them…
So much that He would die for them… So much that He would die for all of us.
It is times like these that bring me some insight as to why Christ came to earth and why He died on the cross. Calvary, in all its darkness and anguish begins to make some sense.
All our conflict, all our hatred, all our pride, pain, fear and resentement, when we act inhumanely to each other, we do this to God, because He loves us so much and He is in each one of us. But He says, “That’s okay. I can take it.” And there we have the cross.
God, nailed to a tree by us. . . yet, for us.
Yes, these are difficult times to understand but the power of the Cross is greater than any evil. Far greater. The Cross takes all the evil of the world on itself, defeats it and transforms it.
And so I look forward to the day when all of this evil is defeated and transformed. That day may not be in this life, but that day will come.
Do not doubt that. Do not be afraid. As much as those words don’t mean much in the current world climate, we need to have faith. Otherwise what else do we have?