Pray for Paris

prayforparis-2I’m curled up on the first cool day of the season with a cup of green tea, eyes riveted with the rest of the world on the tragedy unfolding in France.  Four years ago I had the enormous privilege to walk the streets of Paris in person and let God capture my heart for the beautiful, strong French people who welcomed me in.

I stood under the Eiffel Tower drinking in the Parisian fall trying to twist the frame of my camera to capture a shot like I saw on postcards and Pinterest. (The photo above.)  I spent my birthday on Montmarte and spent my days following around the sweet friend who was hosting me. I pushed through what I thought was the flu on steroids but was actually the beginnings of cerebral malaria round #16 or 17 of 18 which hit full force mid-Atlantic in flight to the states.  My body was fighting so hard to keep up with my soul that wanted to drink every moment in.

The cafes and museums and beauty and pastries. (I didn’t know I was gluten intolerant yet! Good thing too. Hah.) The very heartbeat of the city of lights. Behind me in my teeny kitchen hangs the painting I bought in the artist’s quarter.  In front of me is the news outlets that have been nonstop covering and re-covering every detail of yesterday’s attacks. One day Jesus willing I will return to Paris more visits, but for now my heart is filled with prayer for France and her people.

I listened to the French president boldly declare over international media that this attack was an act of war. It was and is and his statement got me thinking.  Especially in light of me winding up in urgent care last night with a fairly serious allergic reaction to antibiotic #2 with which they are trying to get rid of a resistant respiratory infection.

I think of my time in Africa as the time I lived in a war zone. But truthfully it only takes one act of war to turn the most peaceful, beautiful oasis into a war zone.  One act. I still live in a war zone.  The battle simply looks different here.  I live in a place where darkness masquerades as mystery and markets itself with blockbuster movies, where our culture is so fragmented we often miss the most broken among us until they lash out in violence. And the breaking begets more breaking.

I live in a place where “church” for many is the thing you do, the place you go to rather than who you are. Yet it is only who we are in Jesus that actually make us dangerous to darkness. It is light that prevails. Not the lantern in which it is housed.

I’m not one that talks a lot about spiritual warfare or even agrees with most of what is popularly taught about it. But I’m reminded as I continue to fight for my health through long-term effects of all the repeated malaria, it is very real. I might be writing a bit more about it here in times ahead. I keep getting asked to teach on it, because so much that is floating about in many circles is just not helpful or even biblical. {And I am really tired of seeing people get derailed by bad theology that detracts from Who Jesus is.}

Praying for the City of Lights to shine brighter than ever tonight.  Darkness cannot stop the light.  The only way darkness wins is if light refuses to show up. So Church, let’s not let darkness win with our absence, now or ever. #PrayforParis