Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord…1 Peter 5:8, 9 The Living Bible

Where were you twenty years ago? Like my parents’ generation and Pearl Harbor, everyone above the age of babyhood can say exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the attacks of 9/11.
Me—I was lacing up my hiking boots, preparing for the best day of the week. Tuesday was my hiking/skiing day; that September morning was sweet as fresh-pressed cider. I flipped on the radio to get the weather forecast, gasped in horror, but somehow continued to pack my backpack, meet my friend in the usual parking lot.
We climbed into the Bridgers with the aspens fluttering gold around us, the sun warm on our faces, but our feet felt as leaden as our hearts. When a solitary jet zoomed over our heads (on the way to West Yellowstone to pick up FEMA officials), we headed back to the trailhead.
I spent the rest of the day as we all did: glued to the television. But the repeated picture of that plane flying into the North Tower, raining death and chaos on the city of my birth, the city where a branch of my father’s family has lived since 1657, became too much for me. I’d been a long time gone from there but it broke my heart.
Now it’s happened again. The same evil forces have taken over Afghanistan. People innocuous as the folks going to work or climbing on airplanes that fateful Tuesday morning are suffering. American allies, women, children, Christians—members of one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. Reports tell of women rounded up and sold into slavery, Christians hiding in cellars and caves, people shot for having a Bible app on their phones.
Again it breaks my heart.
Evil may change location, methods, victims, but it is still evil. The roaring lion Simon Peter saw still prowls, bringing death and chaos to innocent lives.
Peter called the persecuted church of his day to be aware of evil, to stand with God’s people against the enemy of our souls. I hear his call echo across the centuries.
I must speak up for the oppressed people of Afghanistan—people far away but close in spirit. I must pray for them, help them however I can.
As Luther said, I can do no other.

FATHER GOD: Please help, protect, guide Your people in Afghanistan. Give them the strength and wisdom. I am trusting You. Show me how to help. Amen.

To be published in “Bozeman Daily Chronicle,” September 12, 2021.