Fear, Threat, And The SWAT Team Standoff At Greg Laurie's Church
Early this morning we got the news that “SWAT teams in California have arrested two men who entered an empty church naked and armed with rifles.” That church was Harvest Orange County lead by Pastor Greg Laurie.
A Newsweek article gives the full details including a description of a two-hour standoff with police, snipers and SWAT teams.
Fortunately the men were eventually taken into custody and no one was hurt.
Pastor Greg gave a brief update with his thoughts on his personal blog.
After I had the chance to catch my breath I was left feeling inspired and encouraged after reading Pastor Greg’s response. Consider these two statements:
“Church operations and services will continue Thursday without interruption.”
“We are confident the situation is resolved, all our service and programs will continue as normal, but we are taking additional security precautions for the foreseeable future.”
Strengthen My Hands
What made these statements so powerful to me is that just before reading this story I was reading the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. I was struck by one specific verse.
“For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” -Nehemiah 6:9
You see Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity with a small band of God fearing families to rebuild the wall around the holy city of Jerusalem. He was met with constant opposition from evil men trying to interrupt his work.
These men finally resorted to threats. They told him they would send these lies to the King, “It is reported among the nations…that you and the Jews intend to rebel...you wish to become their King.” (Nehemiah 6:6-8)
Nehemiah’s life was on the line. The threats were pouring in. Five times they returned. I can only imagine that his fear was mounting.
But he knew what the real danger was. The real tragedy would be if he cowered away and stopped the work God had set before him to do. So he prayed.
“But now, O God, strengthen my hands”
Pray For Strength
I wonder if Pastor Greg and his team prayed something similar. It would be so easy for them to cancel their gatherings until further notice. The news stories admitted that no one knew the motives of these men. Could there be more? Could they come back? Threat and Fear.
I believe God has strengthened their hands in this time to continue the work they are doing for His Kingdom.
It seems these threatening acts towards churches are only increasing. As a Pastor, Worship Leader, and Husband I pray that my hands would be strong when threat and fear come my way. That I would not fall away but stand firm.
I pray the same for you.
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