Mobile phone video taken in the moments immediately following the terrorist attack in Brussels shows people running in a smoky airport terminal.
Dust settles on an empty stroller.
We watch a mother hug her young son, fear and worry in her eyes.
Sadly, scenes like what I’ve described above are becoming the new normal. Since June 2014, ISIS has carried out 75 attacks in 20 countries, killing at least 1,280 innocent people. While the majority of these attacks have occurred in the Middle East, ISIS is increasingly targeting the large cities and suburban areas of Europe and North America.
That the West continues to grapple with adequate and decisive responses to terrorism after decades of embracing moral relativism shouldn’t surprise us. After all, how can one describe what happened in Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels when so many have largely rejected the concepts of good and evil?
How does a culture that continues to place man in the center of all things reconcile something as irrational as suicide bombers?
The reality is our culture can’t make sense of what’s happening without a Christian worldview. All of our sophistication and post-Christian philosophies can’t begin to answer the tough questions or provide adequate solutions that come up when terror hits close to home.
I’m reminded of something that the late Focus board member and pastor Dr. Adrian Rogers once said when commenting on the scourge of sin in the world.
“Life is short,” he said. “Death is sure. Sin [is] the curse. Christ is the cure.”
Indeed, I do not profess to be a trained theologian, but I know there is no problem in the world that cannot be solved by Jesus. And so, in times like these, in the midst of Holy Week, how are we, as Christians, supposed to respond?
First, I think we need to speak with clarity. For too long many of us have feared the contempt of the sophisticated world and watered down how we communicate what we believe. Sometimes we talk about the “mistakes” of humanity. We’ve looked at evil and pointed to poverty as a cause.
However, the problem isn’t that Muslim jihadists lack jobs or opportunities. The problem is original sin, and that’s a condition all of us share.
Secondly, as I indicated, we must present Jesus as the ultimate answer. Two thousand years ago when some people came to Jesus bringing news of a couple of disastrous “current events” – Galileans slaughtered by Pilate’s Roman soldiers in the Temple, and the collapse of a tower in Siloam that killed 18 people – Jesus calmly directed their focus to the question of their relationship with God and their eternal destiny. He told them, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-5).
Given the seemingly rational world we live in, it may be tempting to shy away from the supernatural elements of our faith. But the truth is only Jesus Christ can save us from our sin and make us right with God.
Finally, we need to share how the story ends. When we look back at the story of humanity, we see there is nothing new under the sun. At every stage of history, there has been bloodshed, civil unrest, racial and national rivalries, “war and rumor of wars.”
But even when things look their bleakest, the old saying rings true: it’s always darkest before the dawn.
We see this during Holy Week. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem occurred in the midst of political turmoil and violence. But instead of overcoming and conquering all these negative forces, Jesus was seemingly destroyed by them.
But that wasn’t the end of the story, because after the blackness of Friday and the blank confusion of Saturday came the resurrection of Sunday.
So let’s remember that for those of us who belong to Christ, no matter how bleak our present situation becomes, we will never be consumed by it. We can confidently live by the hope we celebrate on Easter Sunday, that we serve a living Lord who has vanquished evil and conquered death.
I hope the reality of Jesus’ resurrection gives you hope during these Holy Week observances. But more than that, I hope you share your hope with those who don’t yet know Jesus.
Do you and your family enjoy certain Holy Week traditions? Please share them below. I know many moms and dads are always looking for new ideas to help communicate the eternal truths of the faith.