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Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
April 5, 2011

Airplane tears and terrorists in Yemen

Reading the news this morning is an act of faith. Those of us who fly regularly are not encouraged by USA Today’s report that the government will order emergency inspections of 80 more Boeing 737s similar to the jet which suffered a five-foot roof tear last Friday. Even more troubling, the tear occurred in an area which is not considered high risk.

Those of us who frequent hotels are also in the news with Reuter’s report: E-mail addresses given to Hilton HHonors, Marriott Rewards, Disney, Brookstone, Best Buy, Chase and Tivo have likely been compromised. I qualify on four of the seven.

Adding to my stress, today’s New York Times tells us that counterterrorism operations in Yemen have ground to a halt due to political tumult there. The result is that al Qaeda’s deadliest branch is increasing its plots for attacks against Europe and America. A small but steadily growing stream of al Qaeda fighters are making their way to Yemen today.

Our culture equates tranquility with safety. It’s interesting to me that seven “Fear Not”s in the Bible were given to people in times of great anxiety. In each case, their circumstances were grim but their God was gracious.

Isaac was in a land war with his neighbors, the future of his family very much in doubt, when the Lord said to him, “Fear not, for I am with you” (Genesis 26:24). A widow was facing famine and starvation when the Lord said through his prophet, “Fear not” (1 Kings 17:13). Elisha’s servant was terrified by the enemy armies surrounding them when the prophet said, “Fear not. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

Israel was enslaved in Babylon (ancient Iraq) when the Lord said, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you” (Isaiah 41:10). Later he said to these enslaved captives, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

Jesus said to frightened disciples sent forth on their first mission, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So fear not” (Matthew 10:30-31). And the risen Lord said to his frightened disciple on Patmos, “Fear not. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).

Janet displays a plaque in our home which states: “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child.” Which is his gift to you this morning?

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