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Overcoming fear: a Christian response to terror attacks

BMS World Mission worker Claire-Lise Judkins shares unique insights into what life is like in France following the events of 13 November and how Christians can respond to fear

Fear: it’s the knee-jerk reaction felt across humanity in response to terror. It’s a reaction that’s hit close to home for BMS World Mission workers Claire-Lise and David Judkins living and working in Brive-La-Gaillarde, France.

They share what life is like after the Paris attacks and offer insight into how Christians can respond to fear.

As the people of France do their best to move on with a sense of normality, fear lurks in the background. Claire-Lise, David and their children live about four hours away from Paris, but still see the way fear impacts their community.

'People are living their normal lives, but there’s more fear.' says Claire-Lise. 'Everybody is worried about what could happen.'

As people worry, they look for someone to blame, and Claire-Lise is concerned about what this may do to the Muslim community.

'Some people think all Muslim people are radical Islamists,' she says, 'I think it is difficult for the Muslim community because they are pointed at and people are scared of them.'

Undoubtedly there is fear, but inside that fear there are windows of opportunity.
 
Claire-Lise and David’s work revolves around church planting and helping people come to faith. They have already seen the way fear impacts believers and non-believers in different ways. They see believers start to question the existence of God and non-believers become curious about God.

It can be a real challenge, but there is value in both as they open up opportunity for conversation. 'For us it has been positive in that way because it brings up conversation about God,' says Claire-Lise. 'People are ready to listen.'
 
As people wrestle with fear, Christians can shed light on how to respond in difficult situations. 'I think one of the problems in society is that we never talk about death, illness or sad things,'says Claire-Lise, 'but actually it is a part of life and we can’t stop living or trusting others because of what happened.'

While suffering in the world is disheartening, Claire-Lise believes we are not powerless. Fear does not paralyse the spirit.

'We can all find practical ways to help each other,' says Claire-Lise, 'I think one of the best ways is to pray.'

At this moment in time, Claire-Lise sees prayer for authorities as most important.

She feels they need prayers for wisdom as they have to make tough decisions regarding refugees and safety for citizens.

Fear is an ugly companion.

But as Claire-Lise points out, it is a part of life. Sometimes we wrestle with fear, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do but simply walk with it. We feel it and do our best to move forward.

And maybe if we are intentional enough about the way we walk, it will make all the difference.

 

 
Please pray for the work of Claire-Lise and David Judkins and for the people of France. Pray specifically for the upcoming election in Brive-La-Gaillarde, where the Judkins live.

Pray that the community comes together to vote and their efforts place the right people into leadership positions.

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.

BMS World Mission, 27/11/2015
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