This morning I awoke to the news of a terrorist attack in Turkey. I went to Turkey in 2010 on a mission trip and have several friends living there, so news of tragedies in that nation seem more personal to me. Before I traveled there I’m not sure I could identify Turkey on a map; now a piece of my heart remains there and I often think of the friends I met there.
It seems like “good” news, happy news, is in short supply these days. I know quite a few people who have stopped reading or watching the news altogether because it’s so depressing. And I agree, it can be quite discouraging to hear about bombings, earthquakes, school shootings, flooding, kidnappings and other tragic events happening here in the U.S. as well as around the world. After a while it is easy to become desensitized to it all or to give into the temptation to ignore it altogether.
While I firmly believe that, as Christians, we are to focus our thoughts on things above and not earthly things (Colossians 3:2), I don’t think that means we are to bury our heads in the sand and pretend that bad things aren’t happening in the world. Jesus promised that there would be a lot of bad news in the world (John 16:33)–but the good news is that He has overcome the world, and we, too, share in that victory as children of God. Because of that victory, we can live in peace, not fearful of the news we read or watch.
I’m trying to be more prayerful in response to the news I hear and see. I want to see these tragedies as opportunities to pray for God’s peace, love, joy and hope to come in response. Instead of praying for destruction of evil people (which, believe me, is a great temptation), I want to pray for their salvation. As a conference speaker I heard this week said, if Saul can be converted, why can’t members of ISIS?
Don’t shy away from learning about what’s going on in the world–but don’t let the news cause you to live in fear and worry. Use it as an opportunity to pray for change in the world.