"I think there's a high degree of probability that something will detonate . . ."
It was a chilling statement from someone who is "in the know," someone who had firsthand knowledge of both terrorism threats and counterterrorism efforts surrounding the XXII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul had hoped he was wrong in his assessment, and it turns out he was, but he is certainly aware of other insidious operators who will try to propagate their message through violence and destruction.
Fear continues to cast a shadow over major international events, and terrorism experts warn that diligence should always be exercised. But should event participants, and those of us observing from afar, be fearful? When the Bible tells us over and over again to not fear people or circumstances, just how should we respond to the very real threat of terrorism that reverberates all around the world?
God makes it very clear: Fear Him … and Him alone. Develop a deep, reverential awe for God based on the acknowledgement of His sovereignty in all things. And, even when disaster strikes, the Lord assures us there is profound purpose in the most painful of circumstances.
In truth, we have no idea how many tragedies like "9/11" have not occurred around the world because God said in those cases … no.
As we contemplate the sovereignty of God, here's how to move from fear to faith:
1. Be diligent in developing reverential awe for God and deepening trust.
• Believe God has a purpose and a plan for your life.
• Believe God ultimately reigns over your life, not people or circumstances.
• Believe God wants you to entrust your life to Him.
• Believe God has the power to set you free from fear.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding."
(Psalm 111:10 NIV 2011)
2. Be determined to pursue a "faith-based" mentality.
• Choose to fully trust God even in frightful situations.
• Choose to entrust your life to God through prayer.
• Choose to meditate on helpful scriptures rather than fearful scenarios.
• Choose to pursue the peace that accompanies faith in God's sovereignty.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:6–7 NIV 2011)
3. Be proactive in finding others to stand with you.
• Seek those who will commit to pray for your deliverance from fear to faith.
• Seek a church home where God's truths are taught and affirmed.
• Seek a small group Bible study where struggles with fear can be shared and scriptural truths can be personally applied.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up …"
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV 2011)
4. Be confident of God's unfailing love.
• Remember that God promises to never leave you or forsake you.
• Remember that God is faithful to provide the power to overcome any fear.
• Remember that whatever happens to you is always for your good.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
(Romans 8:28 NIV 2011)
5. Be disciplined to memorize scriptures that affirm the power and sovereignty of God.
• "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you." (Psalm 56:3 NIV 2011)
• "The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1 NIV 2011)
• "God is [my] refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble, Therefore [I] will not fear …" (Psalm 46:1–2 NIV 2011)
• "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21 NIV 2011)
• "The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all." (Psalm 103:19 NIV 2011)
• "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2 NIV 2011)
For those attending events with the threat of terrorism, faith certainly doesn't mean "throwing caution to the wind," ignoring suspicious behavior, or turning a blind eye to criminal activity. But it does mean in uncertain circumstances that fear isn't permitted to prevail, it is instead constrained by the deep-seated assurance that God has a master plan that no maniacal plot can disrupt.