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Written by Reg Wright
As we joined Australians across the nation in watching the siege unfold in Martin Place, Sydney, the apostle Paul's warning came to mind. He wrote: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1). For a number of our citizens a most perilous time overtook them as they were taken by force into a hostage situation.
The individuals taken hostage were innocent people going about their daily lives when the most horrendous unexpected event took charge and threatened their very existence. A deranged man carrying a loaded shotgun took some staff and customers hostage in the Lindt cafe on the Philip Street corner. The response from police and security personnel was swift; streets around the area were cordoned off and, for safety, nearby buildings cleared of personnel.
For the next 17 hours the TV stations kept the nation informed as events unfolded.
Our Prime Minister, Mr Abbot, spoke to the nation and his words provided us with assurance that the hostage situation was being managed by well trained and experienced police and security personnel and asked us to remain calm in this most distressing situation. At 2.00am in the morning we were informed that heavily armed police has stormed the cafe and a shoot out ensued in which the gunman was killed but, unfortunately, to the great sadness of the nation, two innocent hostages were also killed.
We join all Australians in extending our sympathy, our concern, support and prayers for the families and friends of those innocent hostages killed in this siege. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones in such tragic circumstances.
In times like this we draw strength and comfort from the Scriptures. Jesus told the disciples:
In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer -- take courage, be confident, certain, undaunted -- for I have overcome the world -- I have deprived it of power to harm, have conquered it [for you]" (John 16:33, Amplified Bible).
And Jesus also said:
25. "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
28. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (John 5:25, 28)
Yes, for a time, we may be parted from our loved ones who have died. But we have the sure promises of God that the day will come when all who are in the grave will hear the voice of the Son of God and will live again. We will be reunited with our loved ones.
And the apostle John recorded a vision of a glorious future time from which we draw great comfort, assurance and inner strength:
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:3-4).
Those loved ones who died so needlessly in the siege in the Lindt cafe at Martin Place, Sydney, will one day live again and the re-union with family and friends will be profound.
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