Last Wednesday, on the one year anniversary of the terror attack in Brussels, a radicalized British-born man drove his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge killing three and injuring forty before exiting the vehicle and fatally stabbing a police officer. The assailant was then killed by other police officers before he could cause more harm. The entire incident lasted just under a minute and a half.
This incident impacted me for a couple reasons, the most prominent of which being the fact that Mom and I will be walking in that exact area this coming June. if everything works out I hope to actually enter the Palace of Westminster and sit on one of the benches like a regular back-bencher.
One of the men who died as an American man on his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife who was also critically injured. This trip likely was a bucket list adventure for them, a milestone in a committed life. I imagine that they may have toasted to 25 more years before in the blink of an eye his life and their life together ended.
This trip will be the first time Mom has traveled to Europe, a trip that we have been saving for quite a while. In a blink it could be over, just like for that couple. Does that mean that we should not go?
On the contrary!
I faced a similar scenario two years ago before I traveled to Rome. Several prominent airplane accidents had occurred in the past year including the as of yet unsolved disappearance of MH370 and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by BUK missile purportedly of Russian origin provided to Russian backed Ukrainian separatist fighters. Then, while we were in Italy, Andreas Lubitz committed suicide by intentionally crashing the plane and killing 144 people. Most of my coworkers at the time declared their intention to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. As my trip approached, a few of them questioned whether all of this made me rethink my travel plans.
Without hesitation I replied, “No. Not at all.” Obviously, they did not understand and probably still do not agree. The reasons I explained to them then remain true today.
Starting with the least important, my reasons are as follows: One, the pure statistics of plane crashes and terrorist incidents provide the perfect counterpoint to those irrational fears. Two, the fiercely independent streak in me refuses to bow down in fear to those who seek to take away freedom or to random unpredictable accidents of man-made or natural origin. Third, and most importantly, as a child of God, death holds no fear for me. Killing me would be the least that someone could do to me. If I die, I leave this finite, corruptible body on a world infected by sin, death and decay to begin an eternity together with the sinless, incorruptible God giving glory to Him for all eternity.
To leave with faith rooted in fear would be to say to God that I do not believe that He is sovereign, that I believe that my effort can do a better job at keeping myself “safe” through life’s uncertainty. This sort of life holds very little if any real joy. I reject it.
Instead, I choose to live with faith rooted in joy, joy in the God who has delighted to love fallen humanity and a world tainted by sin and to redeem that world for His glory. I will delight in His creation with the goal in all that I do whether work or leisure to glorify and honor Him.