In France the fabric of family and nation is torn, and ten thousand human fibers are frayed with anger, and wet with grief. Millions more are woven in among the stricken strands, and taste the bitter salt of tears. And from the unsafe distance of four thousand miles, we feel the human fibers pulling on our hearts.
The cry of “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “Allah is great”) punctuates the screaming gap between the gunfire and the detonation. Farewell, dismembered terrorist. This is my wish — farewell — but not what I believe. Your Allah is not great. Nor is he God. For God himself has said, No one who spurns the Son knows God (1 John 2:23). Not only that, but this: No one who loves to murder will have a martyr’s hope (1 John 3:15). O, how deceived you are, to think that you can pave your way to paradise with blood from “infidels.”
O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? (Psalm 94:1–3)
Marc Coupris, a survivor of Le Bataclan (the theatre), said, “It was carnage. . . . They shot from the balcony. I saw my final hour unfurl before me, I thought this was the end. I thought I am finished, I am finished.” But you were not finished, Marc. We are thankful. Would that all could say the same. For many, life was over. They were finished.
O, let us wake up from the stupor of thinking we know when we will be finished. We do not know. God has told us how to speak of our tomorrows. “You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15). If you are reading this, you’ve been given another day. Perhaps only one. Think on this.
To all of France, the hands of Jesus are extended. The risen Savior stretches out his bloody hands and says, “Come to me, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).
Vengeance will come. It need not come from private individuals. “Leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). There is a time for everything under heaven. Now is a time for France — and all of us — to hear the words of Jesus, “Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem [or Paris]? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4–5).
And if we do? Sins forgiven. God reconciled. Hell shut. Heaven opened. Spirit given. Love abounding. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).