For the first time in modern history, the people of the United States are forced to live with the possibility of terrorism as a reality in their lives.
Terrorism is designed to put fear into the hearts of people and to disrupt their daily lives as much as possible. Not only does a single act of terrorism touch those directly affected by the atrocity, it also affects those hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Even though we are 4,000-plus miles away from "ground zero," our lives have become greatly affected. Now with the threat of bioterrorism there is no place that is safe from the forces of evil who desire to reach out and touch someone.
From 1988 until 1991, my family and I lived in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, Colombia, South America. Every day became an exercise in survival as Colombia has a murder rate eight times that of the United States, and the risk of being kidnapped (sequestrado) is greater than any other nation in the world.
Half of the world's kidnappings happen in Colombia, where holding someone for ransom is known as "miracle fishing." Internal terrorism is also common. In the past 15 years, some 200 bombs have exploded, assassinations have claimed four presidential candidates, 200 judges, 1,200 policeman, 151 journalists and 300,000 ordinary citizens.
In the city of Medellin there are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 youth who have committed murder for hire at least once. Evangelical Christian pastors and missionaries are persecuted by both leftest rebels and right-wing militia. In our area of town we had seven bombs to explode destroying our mall, our grocery store and a local hotel that blew up five minutes after I walked out its doors. Some bombs were strong enough to destroy 10 city blocks.
We also received a call from the U.S. Embassy warning of a plot to kidnap a missionary in our area. Since there were only three families in the area, I assumed we were a target. During this time we were stopped on a daily basis, had our car searched, frisked and had fully automatic weapons stuck in our backs.
So why am I telling you all of this? There are two reasons: 1) I have had a little experience with terrorism and, 2) I learned how to live without fear and anxiety on a daily basis and not give into terrorist tactics.
I had to learn how to put not only my life into God's hands, but also the life of my wife and three children. I vividly remember getting a call one day informing me of a bomb in my children's school and praying all the way to the school, "Lord protect my children and all those who are in that school and protect those who are responsible for removing it safely."
I had gone to the post office on three occasions one day and later found out that there was a bomb hidden in the trash can next to the post office door. Daily we had to give ourselves into the hands of God, not trusting in the arm of the flesh, but relying on the Holy Spirit's direction for everything we did and everywhere we went.
In the midst of all this turmoil was the presence and peace of God, and as long as we were in communion with him, he was faithful to lead us, guide us and keep us from all harm. Even while planes were being blown out of the air and presidential candidates were being assassinated in midflight, we still flew with the peace of God in our hearts.
The Word of God tells us, "Perfect love casts out all fear." His spirit is there to comfort you and guide you if you are willing to enter into his presence and seek his perfect will.
Please do not allow terrorism of any kind to keep you from your appointed destiny. We do not have to live in fear and allow evil and those that the personification of evil uses to control or destroy our lives. If we do, then evil and terrorism have won.
Rufus Tallent is the pastor ar Aurora Heights Assembly of God Church in Nikiski.
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