Paris is Loved

Yesterday brought back feelings of september 11th. As I sat and watched the news cover the chaos in Paris there was many different emotions that were flowing through my mind. I felt afraid, scared, and angry. I was full of an unrelenting pounding of grief in my heart for all the people who had a normal Friday night turned into a scene from a nightmare. I was uneasy as I waited for what would happen next. A burning flow of anger filled my chest. I was furious at the cowardice and evil that was taking place before my eyes. My mind was full of thoughts of revenge and retaliation.

I’m sure that you were in a similar place. I’m sure that as you watched the devastation in Paris you were impacted by a variety of emotions.

When something like this strikes, questions begin to pop into your mind. “Why?” is burning in my mind as I write this. “Why would this happen?” In a time like this people of all backgrounds and beliefs ask, “Why would God allow this to happen?” or “Why would a ‘God’ allow this to happen?”

Now, let me make this clear, I am not about to try to belittle this tragedy or to try and make you feel better about what happened yesterday. My simple goal with this post is to remind you of this truth.

Jesus loves Paris.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God”. 1 John 4:7

This verse was written by the apostle John. John was referred to as “the one Jesus loved”. This verse is written by a loved apostle, to people he loved, reminding them to love each other, because God loves them. That’s a lot of love.

The key ingredient to the gospel, the secret sauce of Jesus, is love. 

It is clear, throughout the course of the Bible, that the key to the entire Bible is love. This love is extended to all. This love is extended to you, to your family, to your co-workers, and to the people of Paris.

As the death count is being figured and as the family members are notified, as the candlelight vigils are held and the profile pictures changed, how can I claim that God loves Paris? As we see the pictures of the violence and hear the stories of terror and evil, how can anyone claim that the people of Paris are loved by an all knowing, all powerful God?

It is important to understand that what happened yesterday was not a part of “God’s plan”. God didn’t think, “Hmm, Paris needs a wake up call”, God didn’t throw a terrorism dart at the City of Lights. God’s love is so great He extends the opportunity of choice to humanity. What we as humans do with the ability to choose is where evil originates from. God’s love did not ordain an attack on Paris, people choosing to live outside the love of God attacked paris. I believe that last night, the Author of the Heavens and Earth wept for Paris.

Today, I write to remind all of us who are distressed about Paris, that there is a love to lean on today. That there is a love that can hold your heart, that the God of love cares about Paris.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
1 Peter 3:3-6
In this world we have the ability to make our own choices, sometimes people make choices that change our lives, that change the world. Sometimes people choose to attack and kill civilians, this choice is one that is devastating to those of us who cannot fathom choosing to carry out that type of evil.  This verse from Peter reminds us that these sufferings come, that on this earth we will have grief, it is not a surprise that tragedy comes. This verse also reminds us that as people bought with the blood of Jesus we have a hope to hold onto. That today as emotions of many kinds overwhelm our hearts we can be reminded that there is a home that awaits us where these times of pain and grief will be long forgotten. A reminder to greatly rejoice in the love of God.
I don’t want to get all theological with the tragedy in Paris, I don’t want to try and logic you into feeling better about what happened yesterday. I simply want to extend the peace that comes with the love of God. My only goal is to offer a reminder of the love that can comfort you today.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
Psalm 41:1,2
Rest in the love of God, take comfort in His peace.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33
There will be pain, there will be suffering.
There is a love that holds the heart of the broken, a love that comforts the distraught, a love that longs for the people of Paris to rest and trust in it.
Today as we reflect on the tragedy of terrorism in Paris, rest in this Love.
Remember, Jesus loves Paris.  
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