By now, the world has heard of the tragic events that took place on Monday at Virginia Tech University. As I write, 31 people lost their lives to a crazed gunman. My heart goes out to the parents who thought they were sending their children to get an education, not to their death. May the Lord comfort them and all involved on and around that campus.
When I was in Afghanistan a few years ago, we were in danger every day. Our team assembled every morning and together we read Psalm 91 aloud because we needed to walk in its truth every hour we were there. It states:
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
When people ask me if I am afraid to go to Africa, I tell them I am not. I am not super-spiritual, nor do I ignore the dangers involved. I gave my life to the Lord 34 years ago. I didn't loan it to Him to put into the deep freeze somewhere so I could take it back one day. Danger is a part of this sin-infested world and I take comfort in the truth found not only in Psalm 91, but also in the verse that says
My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me (Psalm 31:15).
If you ask me to explain what happened in Virginia, I am at a loss for words. If you ask me whether the people killed were somehow not living in the truth of Psalm 91, I could not say. All I know is that I live in the truth of Psalm 91 and if my life is taken while I am in Africa or while in my bed in the United States, that is God's business, not mine.
Would anyone tell a foreigner not to come to the United States right now? Probably not. We would tell them that this was a random act and America is a big country. That is what I tell people when they hear of something bad in another land where I happen to be. We in the United States know how to put this situation into the proper context of the overall picture. And this is what the people in Africa are able to do as well.
So I am off to England this Saturday, but with a heavy heart for the families at Virginia Tech. I have work to do that hopefully will help prevent these kinds of things from happening, for change is only available to an individual or a nation in the power of God. May the Lord grant my nation grace and heal it of its fundamental flaw and sickness that would provide the context for such a person to do this terrible thing.
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