Paris attacks have changed Europe

Published 11:37 pm Friday, November 20, 2015

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

There are certain events so monumental in their impact that you will always remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.

On the Friday night before last, I was at a high school football game when I checked the news on my phone. I was wondering about the sports news.

Email newsletter signup

But as I glanced at my Twitter feed, I started seeing something about “scores” being killed in terrorist attacks in Paris. Instantly, I got that dreaded feeling. This was going to be really big and really tragic.

Europe is now a changed continent. It will not be business as usual for a long, long time there. The venues the murderers chose were by design: a concert hall, restaurants, cafes, a soccer game.

These were not places with military value. The goal was simply to murder as many as possible, and terrorize the entire population.

Of course, ultimately, acts of terror like this only serve to unite and galvanize nations. They almost always prove to be counterproductive to the aims of the terrorists.

We have spoken of ISIS before in this column. They are a cancer the West has allowed to metastasize. The evil of this group knows no bounds. For years now, they have raped and plundered and enslaved and beheaded and rampaged.

Is anyone surprised by Paris? These people will take any opportunity to kill as many of us as they can. America is an even more desirable target for them than France.

If you are a person of faith, please pray. In the aftermath of the tragedy the hash tag #prayforparis began to pop up millions of times on social media. I sure hope many of those who were recommending prayer were actually praying. Our broken world needs it.

Pray for the families of the victims. Can you imagine being a parent and getting a phone call that something like this had happened to your precious child?

Pray for those who are maimed. Imagine going out to enjoy a meal or a ballgame or a cup of coffee and being sprayed with bullets or bombs.

Pray for the military and security forces. One day, when Christ comes again, we won’t need these. Until then, these brave people stand in the way of evil running unchecked.

Pray for political leaders as they make decisions. In cases like this, almost no decision seems palatable. But decisions must be made, and soon.

Pray for non-violent Muslims who live in Europe and America. They will now face increasing prejudice because of the crimes of ISIS. The truth is, ISIS kills people like them, too. Let’s seek to love these people to the Savior.

Finally, be encouraged that evil will not have the final word. Satan’s doom was sealed when Jesus Christ came walking out of a sealed tomb. One day the Risen One is coming again, and he will utterly destroy evil and heal this broken world.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.