Europe, and much of the rest of the world, trembles in the wake of the Brussels attacks. Like in many past instances, the world bands together to provide virtual support via social media. In the four months since the Paris attacks, the red, white and blue striped profile pictures have died off and are now being replaced by black, red and yellow in support of Belgium. A makeshift memorial was erected in the center of the city with flowers and chalk, and local residents are offering their homes to those trapped without transportation under the hashtag #PorteOuvertez meaning “open door.” Images of classic Belgian cartoon character TinTin flooded the Internet as an image of solidarity.
One particular CNN headline was splashed on their website: “#prayforbrussels: World mourns with cartoons and open doors” and it struck me as odd. If the world prays, what more could be necessary? In a sensitive time when nothing concrete can be done but sit and wait for the storm to pass and life to resume, what more can people offer of themselves? The world mourns through prayer, but cartoons and hashtags do nothing to make the message more clear to God. He hears us and answers our call, offering healing to the wounded and broken. Although cartoons and hashtags display solidarity and spread the message, they also alert the enemy that they have achieved exactly what they set out to do: cause pain and spread fear.
Terrorists use worldwide reactions as fuel. They use them to drive their own political agendas and feed off of the fear caused by terrorist attacks. In his article for the Guardian in which he writes as if he is the enemy, Simon Jenkins explains how frenzied reactions and anger can be just what the enemy needs. “I measure my success in column inches and television hours, in ballooning security budgets, butchered liberties, amended laws and – my ultimate goal – Muslims persecuted and recruited to our cause,” Jenkins wrote. “I deal not in actions but in reactions. I am a manipulator of politics.”
A video of a French man went viral, just a few short months ago, after he publicly voiced his lack of hatred toward ISIS after he lost his wife in the Paris attacks, a noble message. The speech touched millions with his seemingly impossible forgiveness. Sadly, terrorists couldn’t care less about this man’s emotions or lack thereof. Christian values and feelings do not reach people such as these. They are immune to our words and outrage. However, there is one reaction they will never be able to avoid and that is His.
In the aftermath of yet another attack so soon after the previous, the world is called to channel its anger and brokenness to the only thing that will truly heal: prayer. No cartoons, no hashtags, no scathing open letters on Buzzfeed. The only one who is listening is Him, and He can hear you loud and clear without the background noise.
This peaceful reaction can be carried over to our own lives. When we personally feel attacked by life’s battles, He is always listening. It doesn’t take a catastrophic event that sends the world reeling for God to listen to your struggles. He’s there for a failed test, a bad day, a fight with your friend. All you have to do is filter out the noise, find peace and talk to Him.
Jacquelyn Kellar is a sophomore journalism major from Missouri City. She is a reporter for the Lariat.