The world watched again with horror and trepidation as homicidal killers attacked Brussels detonating bombs, killing many and injuring even more. No matter how often these things happen, we do not get used to them. We do not grow numb to the tragedy of lives lost.
If your beliefs or your cause lead you to take the lives of others to prove how faithful or devout you are, you should probably reconsider your beliefs and who you claim to be following because it certainly isn’t God.
There has been a lot of noise about how we are to respond both as a nation and as individuals. As a nation, we should stand with our neighbors, particularly our allies. As individuals, we can respond in two ways.
One, take action. Donate to those organizations helping those that found themselves unexpectedly in harm’s way.We know that faith without works is dead.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 (ESV)
Second, and not least, pray. Yes, pray.
Prayer warriors around the globe know that prayer works. They have witnessed it. They have seen their prayers have an impact. They can testify to changed lives and altered courses.
Science supports what many of us know. Prayer has benefits. Prayer doesn’t just make you feel good. Prayer is not an empty, meaningless action. To the contrary, the Bible proclaims that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16, ESV)
Jesus, himself, taught that prayer can do great things.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20
I am aware that there are some, like lawyer Andrew L. Seidel, who would have you believe that your prayers are a waste and that religion is the problem, not the solution. And he is certainly free to think that way and express his opinion.
On Tuesday, Mr. Seidel wrote:
To everyone who suggests that we pray for #Brussels, more religion is not the answer to this problem. And while those prayers might make you feel good, that’s all they are doing. Instead, try donating to a charity, like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), that actually gets on the ground and helps people. Or donate to an anti-extremist charity the Maajid Nawaz‘s QuilliamFoundation and help fight what is likely the cause of these attacks. Pray if you must, but in addition to action, not as a substitute, and don’t expect much from your prayers. Religion is not the solution, it’s the problem.
#PrayForBrussels? Not so much.
However, faith is not the problem. Religion is not the cause of the suffering we see on the streets of Brussels and that we have seen numerous times in other places, like Paris and New York City. Misguided beliefs and fanatically following false dogma are the problem. Those blowing themselves up and murdering, crippling and harming others in the process are the problem. Faith does not require them to do this. God does not call them to do this. No, this is man-made, a man-generated fallacy.
Yes, act. But pray also.
Contrary to Mr. Seidel’s views, prayer does work. Millions of people throughout history have experienced this and know that prayer is powerful. I’ve seen the effects and results of prayer in my life personally. I’m thankful for the many prayers God has answered and even more grateful for the many prayers He did not answer—at least not in a way I would have liked at the time or in a manner that I recognized. Sometimes God answers silently, working in ways we do not see. Other times God responds loudly, like when He heals wounds, cures people from disease, sustains life and extends it beyond what medical doctors and modern science thought was possible.
So by all means, pray.
Yes, take action. Donate to organizations like the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, and Doctors Without Borders. After you give, pray. Pray that your donations to boots-on-the-ground organizations meet the needs of those reeling from the Brussels attacks. Pray for the people of Belgium especially those fighting for life and those mourning the loss of loved ones. It will not only make you feel good, but it will give them comfort as well. It will remind them that in spite of what one man does to another man, God is still in control and whatever suffering we endure here and now is temporary. Homicidal fanatics can take our lives physically, but they cannot have our souls.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good. Psalm 14:1 (ESV)
People are free to believe however they choose. If someone wants nothing to do with the Divine, that’s their deal. Please, don’t let their voices silence you. Do not let the clamor of fools paralyze you.
Yes, act. But pray, also.
While you’re praying, pray for Andrew Seidel. It sounds like he could use our prayers.