Anders Breivik and the presence of God

Jul 26th, 2011 in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison
Survivors and relatives of a shooting rampage on the Utoeya island mourn following a memorial service in the Oslo cathedral July 24, 2011. (Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)

Survivors and relatives of a shooting rampage mourn following a memorial service in the Oslo cathedral July 24, 2011. (Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay)

As each day passes, we learn more about Anders Behring Breivik.  As you know, last Friday he killed 76 people in the bloodiest act of terrorism Norway has seen since World War II.  Before launching his attacks, he posted to his Facebook page a 1,516-page document which explains his motive.

His manifesto blames multiculturalism for the destruction of Western culture.  In it he states, “I do not hate Muslims at all… This does not mean that I will accept an Islamic presence in Europe.  Muslim individuals who are not assimilated 100% by 2020 will be deported as soon as we manage to seize power.”

There is no question that resentment and anger towards Muslim immigrants is growing across Europe.  Political parties advocating anti-immigrant policies have won an increasing percentage of the popular vote in recent elections.  Migrants now compose 13% of the Swedish population and 8% in Denmark and Norway.  As immigrants change the culture of their society, frustration mounts.

Last fall, after the Swedish elections, a gunman shot at least 15 people in the city of Malmo, targeting people with dark skin.  Now Breivik is claiming that he has “two more cells” working with him.  What can we expect to come next?  As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, Americans worry about further attacks from foreign terrorists.  Now we must be concerned about terrorists in our midst—both those from different cultures who live here and those who resent their growing presence.

How do we live in a world where our neighbors can attack us out of anger at problems we did nothing to create?  We can learn some lessons from Israel.  Each time I travel in the Holy Land I am amazed by the tranquil way her citizens deal with the perils they face.  Their government maintains remarkable vigilance against potential enemies.  The people look to redeem what they confront, viewing their mandatory military service as valuable in maintaining their unity and common culture.

Most of all, they live in the present.  During a recent trip, I got to know a veteran of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and numerous battles since.  I asked him how he deals with the stress of his nation’s security situation.  He smiled and replied, “One day at a time.”  He described his home in Galilee and told me about his four daughters.  “Life each day is good,” he said.  “If this is it—if there is to be no future for us—I am glad to have today.”

If you’re a Christian, you’re in the hands of God today (John 10:28).  Nothing can come to you without going through him.  Don’t despair—all of God there is, is in this moment.  More tomorrow.

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  • Very good essay. Still, I had to chuckle at the ending – “…all of God there is, is in this moment. More tomorrow.” There’s wisdom in that, too.

  • Our son is sitting for the bar exam beginning today. I shared the last two lines of this devotional with him, “…you’re in the hands of God today (John 10:28). Nothing can come to you without going through him. Don’t despair—all of God there is, is in this moment.”

    Everyone of us can apply that to anything we may face today.

  • Mary Thompson

    “Today is the tomorrow we thought about yesterday.”
    “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it.”

    We are thankful to be living a Christian life in this world today, knowing that every act of terrorism is sin no matter how a person or group might try to rationalize such drastic behavior. We also, sadly, are sinners but know better and seek to love others in the way Jesus showed us to do. Thanks be to God for the joy of our salvation. We pray the same salvation (available only through Christ) for every person living on this planet. That is when terrorism will stop.

  • skyrunnerkarl

    I’m learning how Europe is reacting negatively to the number of Muslims immigrating to their countries. It would be shocking for our “melting pot” culture in America to one day have a similar reaction!

  • Fred Rosenbaum

    What we are seeing is the predicted backlash against Muslim terrorists, Muslim terrorists have been indiscriminately killing tens of thousands (yes, that many) We, as Christians must speak out against such a backlash and be actively involved in stopping the backlash.Therein lies the difference between Jesus & Mohammed

  • ‘One day at a time’……best advice I’ve had in awhile. Along with that, I just continue
    saying to myself…God is in control. This brings me peace, when everything in the news is turmoil and tension.

    I appreciate your daily devotionals so much.
    They are relevant, and right on task. I read the paper, then read your thoughts on the crises in the world….and once again, say, “God is in control.”

    Keep up the GOOD work. !! M. Embrey

  • Thank you, very much, for your outreach; and for addressing today’s culture through God’s Word. It’s nothing new–but witnessing to those who, more and more, see terrorists identifying themselves as Christians, becomes difficult at times. Addressing these issues by providing scripture/wisdom is exceptionally helpful to us. I’m a member of First Baptist Dallas; and know that our pastor is doing his best, as well, to lead us in these times.
    May God continue to bless your ministry, Jim.
    Judy Moore Bird


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