France Weeps

Saturday, July 16, 2016
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Listen while you read: "Worship The Lord"1 (Lyrics)

During the 1970s, the pipeline engineering firm for which I worked had a big contract with a French firm, and we had two offices in Paris. As head of the financial division of our firm, I made many trips to our offices. One evening, on the 14th of July, a colleague and I walked under the Arc de Triomphe on L'avenue des Champs-Élysées. There were thousands of people there, and there was a great atmosphere. In those days, we did not worry about suicide bombers, drive-by shootings, or hidden weapons. It was the well-known Bastille Day — the French national day which commemorates not only the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, an important event in Paris in the French Revolution, which had begun two days earlier, but also the Fête de la Fédération, which celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790. Annual celebrations are held throughout France, and indeed, celebrations were held that evening as we joined the crowds in Paris, watching people strolling along or enjoying a drink at the many sidewalk cafés.

Similar celebrations were held all over France again on July 14, 2016. That night and the next day, we saw on the news that a truck had driven into the crowd on the boulevard in Nice. Eighty-four people were killed, and hundreds injured. It appears that there is no end to the carnage, death, and destruction that some people want to inflict on other innocent people — people who were just out having a good time, watching fireworks — many of them children and teenagers.

Indeed, the people of France are weeping, especially those who lost loved ones. It is impossible for us to comprehend that just a few hours before, these people left their homes or hotels to go out and celebrate with other people, and a few hours later, so many were killed — lives lost, people sorrowing.

After we watched the news, I agonized over this. Even when things settle down, albeit temporarily, it seems that people nowadays still need closure, a word which is mentioned quite often. But we also need to grieve. Those of us who have lost a loved one know that it takes time to adjust to a new situation, but we also know that the loss will be felt for the rest of our lives.

As I thought about this situation, some Scripture passages came to mind — wonderful words of comfort in times of need for those grieving not only this terrible tragedy but also personal losses close to home.

Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. (NKJV)

Psalm 34:17 – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. (NKJV)

Matthew 11:28 – Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (NLT)

We can pray that all those who are grieving loss at this time and are surely going through the valley of the shadow of death will be comforted and will find rest indeed.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, this is one of those times when words fail us, when we ask Your Spirit to utter words that we are just not able to find. We pray for those who have lost loved ones, and we earnestly ask that in their deepest need, You will comfort them. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    May it be so Joel.

    Thanks, Joel. Very timely and a helpful personal context.

    Thank you, Joel. We too grieve for the many who are facing loss of loved ones. We too are praying for God’s comfort.
    God bless you.

    Thank you for today’s message.
    I just lost a friend of 20 years… but a fulfilled long life so am so thankful for God’s goodness.

    Thanks Joel for your devotional today. I knew before I had read very far into the message that you were the author. You gave me a spiritual perspective on the terrible happenings in France that I longed for.

    Thank you Joel for a very timely devotional. Although I live many miles away from France, I too weep with them, and I am sure many more in the world have heartaches for the great loss of loved ones, and the freedom we all hold so dear. Jesus weeps with them too.

    This was absolutely tops in providing a Biblical response to the evil we have witnessed this week in Nice but also as a guide for the growing trend of horrific acts of violence we are (and sadly will be) witnessing in the world. Thank you for the devotional – and for its brilliant timeliness!
    All blessings,

    Joel, our hearts break for France, for the families of the many people killed who came from many nations including those in the Americas. Now we must add Turkey to our prayers and those suffering from the carnage there. We pray that people will turn to the Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to find the true peace that passes all understanding. Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Having lost a teenage grandson in a senseless motor vehicle accident this past year, your message brings back the emotions felt (and to some extent still feel). The question that far to often arises is “Why did your loving God let this happen?” It’s a broken world. The older we get, it seems, we bear witness to more human tragedy and the need to share our faith becomes paramount. God bless you for your continuous contributions to this web site.

    Hi Joel,
    Thank you for this devotional. How it must grieve our Lord to see the behaviour of some people nowadays. So much deliberate killings of innocent souls. Seems everyday there is some horrific news and large numbers of lives lost. My sincere and in depth prayers for peace among people and comfort for those who are mourning. Lord bless you,

    This is a touching reminder of how much we need Christ to walk with us each step of the way in this journey we are on. Our life can change in the blink of an eye and human resources are not enough in such times. Friends and family will uphold us but pain goes so deeply only the one who suffered the greatest degree of pain imaginable as he suffered on that cross for us can meet us in our times of deepest need.
    Thank you Joel.

    Dear Joel!
    Weeping is our lot in this life. Joy from the Lord comes in the morning….
    There was a coup taking place when I visited my birthplace long time ago. I have no words to express it.
    It is the LORD’S JOY that helps us through even the waiting is long.
    “Extol the name of the LORD. Rejoice before Him!”
    May this be the time all people begin to call on the name of the LORD!
    Thank you for the timely writing!

    Thank you for your well thought out devotional and prayer. As France weeps and the news reports the needless deaths elsewhere, one can be sure that the angels in Heaven are also weeping for what is currently happening in our Father’s world.
    Do continue to write.

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