Sunday, October 03, 2010

Bombs in Abuja

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Nigeria’s 50th Independence Day celebrations had been marred by the fatal bombings in Abuja.

I pray for those who mourn and are injured and trust this horror will not lead to undue anxiety among ordinary people.

As I look back over recent history I see the threat of bombs has grown. In my own family the first I read of bombs is in my grandfather’s diaries. He was a young farm worker in rural Northumberland during the First World War. I was surprised at the number of references to bombing by Zeppelins, the German airships. Grandfather was nowhere near the bombed cities. His concern must have been because this was the first time civilians were being attacked.

By the time of the next war, the family was in North Yorkshire where the flat land of the Vale of Mowbray was well suited to the development of airfields from which our bombers attacked Germany. The first time my parents saw the house in which I was to grow up, there was a Halifax bomber crashed on the green in front of the house. It had returned from Germany damaged by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in the middle of the village. The Royal Canadian Airforce war memorial now marks the spot.

But my first personal experience of bombs was 1974 in Northern Ireland. I was visiting as a missionary in Nigeria taking meetings among Christians there. In Belfast one regularly heard explosions. One night I was preparing to speak in Strabane when someone came into the mission hall and told us not to expect many at the meeting as there was a bomb down the road in a bar.

IRA bombing came to England too. On 3 August 2001 the Real IRA detonated a car bomb containing 45kg of explosives in Ealing Broadway, two miles from where we live. It was one of the last mainland attacks.

More deadly was the 7 July 2005 London bombings, a series of coordinated suicide attacks on London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. I fortunately commute by car.

In 2006 we visited Kabul. Security was even more intense than in Northern Ireland. When we dined out at a restaurant there was a guard with an automatic rifle at the door.

But fear of bombs did not put me off enjoying our holiday with our friends who work in Afghanistan. Nor has it stopped me travelling on the Tube in London.

I believe with the late American President Roosevelt, that there is nothing to fear but fear. Terrorists want us to be afraid. The antidote to fear is a firm belief in the providence of God. He is the one in control of all events. ‘The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.
’ So says the Heidelberg Catechism. The theologian B B Warfield said, ‘A firm faith in the universal providence of God is the solution of all earthly problems.

God is in control so I am not afraid of bombs when I travel. Instead I worry about little things like missing my flight or losing my luggage.

So my message after the Abuja bombs is, put your faith in the Heavenly Father. Despite the evils of sinful men, He still watches over and keeps His children safe. God bless Nigeria.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

With what happen in nigeria,not chritians alone should put their trust in GOD everybody should, and with GOD everything will ends well with that nation, so be it.

10:48 am  

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