The Egyptian military is announcing this morning that it has found debris from EgyptAir Flight 804. The airplane left Paris for Cairo at 11:09 PM Wednesday local time. Sixty-six people were aboard, including three children. It vanished from radar at 2:45 AM. Many experts believe a bomb planted on the plane by terrorists brought down the aircraft.
I have traveled numerous times on EgyptAir over the years and flew recently from the Paris airport. What happened to these sixty-six people could have happened to me. And to millions of other air travelers.
While we do not yet know what caused this tragedy, here’s what we do know.
One: Islamic terrorism threatens us all. Thirty Egyptians were on board Flight 804. If jihadists did indeed bring down the airplane, we see once again that their despicable cowardice extends to attacks against fellow Muslims, not just Americans and other “infidels.” Anyone who does not support their fanatical extremism is their enemy. Including you and me.
Two: It is impossible to prevent all attacks. There are approximately 100,000 flights around the world every day, with 15,000 airplanes in the air at any given time. It only takes one disaster to make global headlines.
Three: Faith in the midst of fear is our most compelling witness.
King David knew much about war and disaster. Yet he could proclaim: “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.” And he could pray, “May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29:10–11). Thirty centuries later, his words still resound in our souls.
As the Assyrians threatened Israel with annihilation, the prophet Isaiah could proclaim: “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2). Then he could assure his people, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (v. 3).
How do we find peace in a world of terrorism? The psalmist could testify, “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules” (Psalm 119:164). With this result: “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (v. 165). Peter could walk on stormy waters so long as he kept his eyes on Jesus (Matthew 14:29). So can we.
Anne Graham Lotz tells the story of Miss Audrey Wetherell Johnson, a great Bible teacher and preacher who served as a missionary to China in the 1930s. After years of teaching pastors and missionaries, she was arrested with other missionaries and spent three horrible years in a Japanese concentration camp. She was finally released, came to America, and founded Bible Study Fellowship. One million men and women around the world now use her material and format to study the word of God each week.
Anne concludes: “If something bad has happened to you, would you look forward to the glory that is coming?” How would you answer her question today?