ISIS Visits Beirut

I spent yesterday afternoon in my old neighborhood where I lived last fall, only to hear this morning that there was a thwarted ISIS terrorist attack just yesterday evening. It happened at a café just a block from where I used to live and a place I passed by 4 times yesterday. A pastor who spoke at our church just last week was sitting meters away from where a man wearing a suicide belt was confronted and shot by Lebanese security forces. Thank God for Lebanese intelligence and security forces! They truly have done a remarkable job protecting the public here. This thwarted attack is a reminder of the very real and ever present threat of ISIS or other terrorist attacks. I do generally feel safe, but I am always aware of the ominous undercurrent of danger that runs through this city and country.

I cannot help but to be grateful that the Intelligence and Security forces here are not bound by political correctness as we are in America, where you can see how the Fort Lauderdale shooter and the Orlando shooter had been reported on multiple occasions but not enough action was taken. It was said that they were carefully monitoring this individual for weeks and jumped into action as soon as he got on the move. So, in that regards, I sometimes wonder if we are safer here.

Even though I was never in any danger, it is sobering thinking of what could have been and just how close I was to all of this. That is the reality living in this part of the world though, right? Everyone has their stories to tell of survival of war or terrorism. May this be my only story like this, but it may very well not be.

“Be safe.” Everyone says. I appreciate the good advice. I am naturally a very cautious and careful person (if anyone has any other ideas for being safe other than not being in the ME, let me know). I also don’t believe that you can hold onto your life too tightly. There is a verse in Matthew where Jesus says, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” The reality is that we can try to cling to tightly to our own plans and ideas for our life and while insisting on our own way, we forget that us being in control of our own lives is just an illusion. So much in life is really beyond our control. You certainly cannot control accident and tragedy. In using our own ability to try to control our own outcome in life and holding on too tightly and selfishly to our lives for our own gain, we may have passed up on the opportunity of a lifetime, on something that would bring us great satisfaction, joy and peace beyond what we could have imagined on our own both for this world and for the next.

Truthfully, I don’t know what tomorrow brings, all I can do is ask if I am making the most of today and using all my God given gifts and abilities to try bless others and not for my own selfish gain and keep doing this to the best of my abilities with each day that I am gifted with on this earth.