Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002
Subject: God is No Terrorist
Dear Ethan & Emily:
On my recent trip to Washington D.C. I had to fly into Reagan National Airport. During this trip, there were several incidents that kept me in some degree of “fear” for what could have happen in relation to potential terrorist activity. As you know, this airport is a prime target with it’s “downtown” location for those who would like to inflict damage on additional Washington buildings or institutions.
On my flight in from Chicago, a clean shaven but “middle eastern” athletic looking young man sitting in the window across the aisle from me got up out of his seat and taking a motion sickness bag with him said he was ill and needed to go to the rear of the plane to use the restroom (??). Did I wonder about this? You bet I did…wondering whether he was really ill. But the end of the plane did not blow up and he later returned to his sear, and we finally made it to Washington.
When we were just a short distance above the runway with the wheels ready for touch down, the pilot suddenly aborted the landing and we took off again! Did that create some fear? You’re right again…and it was not until we had circled and made another approach that the pilot told us there had been a plane on the runway that had caused the diversion.
Two days later when I had to fly out of this same airport, the headlines in the paper reported that our government had issued a high security alert with possible attacks scheduled for that day! You may find it humorous to know that I kept the photo of the suspected terrorist that had appeared on the front page of US Today and “checked out” all the younger men as they boarded the plane…a somewhat difficult exercise trying to imagine what each would look like with the same hairdo and beard as the person in the photo! It is a new security requirement that all passengers flying into and out of Reagan National must remain seated for 30 minutes prior to landing or after takeoff. In fact, as the pilot warned us on takeoff, to even standup would signal to the crew that “you are a security risk to this airplane.” The message was pretty clear that you took your life in your hands if you stood up or left your seat in this first 30 minutes. He did have a sense of humor, however, and followedup this stern warning, with: “Welcome to the friendly skies!” We all laughed but I was not laughing when about 25 minutes later the man next to me on the aisle suddenly got up and went to the back of the plane! What next I thought!! He was confronted by the stewardess and ordered back to his seat. I asked him why he took such a risk and he said that he thought the 30 minutes was up and that he had to urgently use the restroom! What a trip!!!
Fear. Since September 11th, we all know what that is…and what it has done to almost everyone having to fly at one time or another. Taken to extreme, “fear” can immobilize and be destructive, but it can also work to our advantage by keeping us alert and “on guard.” These terrorists are evil…of the most vicious and wicked kind and have as their intent to use fear to change and upset our entire way of living. What they didn’t count on is the resolve of the American people who have reacted to their attacks and responded to the fear they evoked…with a healthy infusion of patriotism, charity, and even a certain heightened level of “godliness” in behavior and thinking.
GOD IS NO TERRORIST!….but His very presence, majesty, and holiness also can…and should evoke “fear” in the hearts of all who know Him. Not a “fear” because He hates us and wants to do us harm…but a healthy “fear” from awe, respect, and reverence due to who He is…His power…His justice…and perfect righteousness.
The Psalmist tells us: “Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of Him.” (Ps. 33: 8)
Peter reminded those to whom he ministered: “…the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when He judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time as foreigners here on earth.” (1 Peter 1: 17)
The early church knew what this kind of fear was all about and it brought peace and motivation for living right: “The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it grew in strength and numbers. The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9: 31)
Yes, the very essence and being of God should evoke a reverent and awesome fear in each of us who claim Him as Lord! But this fear does not immobilize us but causes us to live victoriously and to life a life of peace, joy, and blessing. What a difference from the fear we all have experienced from the recent terrorist attacks on our nation.
Our God is no terrorist! He does cause us to “fear,” but this is a holy and righteous “fear.” My prayer is that you find in your response to this fear…real joy, real peace, and real fulfillment as it guides and directs you to live life to it’s fullest and highest level of attainment!
Have a wonderful day.
All my love,