Sunday, 11 September 2011

Peace in the Midst of Darkness and Turmoil - 9/11

I just can't let that date pass without posting something about it. Its significance in history is undeniable and its cold horror still resonates within us even a decade later. My heart still goes out to those who have suffered so much on that day. In some way I'd like this post to be a sort of a tribute to them all.

I remember vividly where I was when we heard the news. I've always taken notice of God's care and comfort in the circumstances in which I first heard it. 
Beit el Salam (House of Peace)
The Back of the Church Building
This building has seen
many conversions occurring in it over
the years. God be praised!
Click here for more pictures
We were still in Egypt at the time. (We moved to Australia only a couple of months later) I was with my family at a missions conference in a lovely Christian Conference/Retreat facility, which is called in Arabic Beit el Salam or House of Peace. It is about an hours' away from the city of Alexandria in Egypt, right by the beautiful Meditteranean Sea. One of my favourite places in Egypt, in fact. The moment you enter the place, you can sense God's peace filling the place. I find it amazing that we were there at the moment when the world turned upside down.

Being a missions conference, there were a lot of people present from different countries around the world, many of whom were Americans. The morning service was amazing. There was a lovely time of praise and worship and a hilarious but powerful testimony from one of the missionaries. There was a lot of joy, laughter, and thanksgiving to the Lord for doing marvellous things. 

The next meeting was going to be the last service of the conference, at about 5.00 p.m. if I remember correctly. After lunch, it was still free time and people were milling around with different activities. We were in the gardens outside the Canteen and the small bookshop, having a last snack. Mum was in the bookshop. Around 4 p.m. (Egypt time) we heard a commotion and Mum came running out telling us that news was coming on the radio that America has been hit. We knew nothing. There were no  televisions in that place. We had very little details but it was obvious that it was something serious. 

Everyone immediately gathered for the evening service and it turned into a powerful meeting. This time a prayer meeting for America. We prayed and cried together. Love was overflowing.  Then came what I immediately believed to be an amazing part of that night where God's sovereign and foreknowledge lovingly prepared a comfort for all us weeks and perhaps months before that dreadful day.

The Egyptian branch of King's Kids (a children's band) had prepared two songs for performance - Shout to the Lord and a beautiful Arabic Christian Song called 'Peace, Peace to God's People Everywhere'. Isn't it amazing?! So appropriate! We were hearing a song reminding us with God's peace, while worshipping in the House of Peace! Everyone present was very, very touched by God's love and care. He is a merciful and loving God. We all left that conference sheltered in His peace in a world disturbed by pain, hate, and storm. 

In closing, I would like to give a close translation of this Peace song. I believe it is as relevant today as ever. When the King's Kids performed it then, everyone asked for an encore!! 



Your peace has passed our understandings
It is in us and will never cease 
No matter what the enemy says 
You fill our lives with peace

Chorus: 
Peace, Peace (Salam, Salam) to God's people everywhere. (2x)

Even if our feet lost their way
Your Spirit is in us and around us 
Restores our souls and guides us 
And fills our hearts with peace

(Repeat Chorus)

God's peace You've left for us
Not as the world gives do You give us
As long as Your Spirit lives in us 
Your people will always be at peace.

(Repeat Chorus twice)

You can find another translation here which is more singable with the tune of the original Arabic version. If you'rr interested to know what the melody is like you may like to hear the Arabic Version here (it is an old clip, but it is being sung by Egypt's most well-known Christian worship band, The Better Life Team, and filmed mainly in Beit el Salam). 

Amen! May He continue to give us His peace in a world still reeling with turmoil. 

God Bless
  

8 comments:

Joy said...

Dearest Sarah,
I remember that day well, though I was quite young... the tears, the sadness and the horror, but I also remember the love and comfort of the Lord, and that meeting was just amazing!

I love this hymn... "Peace"... whenever I hear it I always remember that day. Wasn't that hymn also sung often in the house-churches and meetings of the Christians in Egypt during this year's Revolution?
Thank You, Lord, for Your peace... that even in this world of pain and darkness, You have given us your presence, You are walking with us!

Thanks for that post, Sarah.
In His love and peace,
~Joy

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

" Peace, peace prefect peace,
Coming down from the Father above,
Flow over my spirit for ever I pray,
In fathomless billows of love"
- that is another song I know Sarah, and find great comfort singing it in times of sorrow and stress.
I listened to your clip is has a lovely lilting tune the lady who sings it is very beautiful in rendition and looks.
The date was not a day of any special event for me - but was rung up by sister about 10am telling me to put the TV on and watched the horror unfold and so it too became a day of prayer - which we need to maintain in the face of all this even now for the middle east and also US. Much unrest at present in Egypt and so we pray on,
Blessings dear Sarah and thanks so much for popping over to my blog. I am encouraged by the Christian friends I have made through blogging and write to a few of them now, God is good, praise Him for His many mercies.
Shaz.xx

Sarah said...

Sorry, there. I just made a mistake and had to delete my comment:)

Dearest Joy,
This Peace song has now been closely connected to that day in my mind. It brings back that comforting peace He gave us then and still does.

yes, this song was also sung often during the Revolution in Egypt and still does. In fact, they've written another version specifically directed to Egypt. We really need the Peace that He alone can give.

Love,
Sarah

Sarah said...

Dear Shaz,
I haven't heard this song before. Its words are beautiful. I'll look it up some time.

I'm glad you liked the Peace song. That lady who is singing, Manal Samir, is one of Egypt's most well-known Christian singers/songwriters both for children and adults. The Lord has really gifted her in this.

Yes, yesterday (9/9)was a total unrest in Egypt. It's getting more serious. We feel the Church in Egypt is being more squeezed in. It's not easy at all.
In Aswan (the very famous tourist destination with the famous Ancient Egyptian Temples and Monuments), Christians have been beseiged. They are without food and in real extremity. Please remember them in your prayers. God is our comfort and peace.

I'm glad that God is using your blog for blessing others.

Thank your for your encouragement.
God bless,
Sarah

Maddy said...

Dear Sarah,

I was blessed and encouraged by this reminder that the Lord has all things in Hand. His plan is perfect, and beautiful. Praise Him!

"O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle." (Psalm 140:7).

Lord willing, see you tomorrow! That will be lovely :).

God bless,

Maddy

Sarah said...

Dear Maddy,

Thank you for your encouragement. Yes, often in times of darkness we see His loving, providential Hand in special ways guiding and comforting us.

Yes, looking forward to tomorrow!!
God Bless,
Sarah

April said...

Dear Sarah; I was still very young when all this happened. It was terrifying though. My family and I lived in Ohio at the time and we don't watch the news but a relative of ours called from NC and told us...we turned on the television and I remember our family being very upset all that evening. Your account was a blessing to me.
I really like your blog by the way. I did not know it was all about history...I love history! :)

Sarah said...

Dear April,
Yes, it was a very difficult time. I was only about 13 then, still learning a lot of things about life. I think one grows up a bit more when you see such things. The Lord is faithful, though.

Thank you very much for your encouragement, April. I'm glad you like my blog. History for me is a great love. It is His Story so why wouldn't we love it:D!

Actually, I'm majoring in history in my university studies (that's why my posts are bit sporadic:). Right now I'm studying Church History and writing an essay about Eusebius' account of the Great Persecution under Diocletian - very inspiring and challenging.

Personally, history has been one of the major tools that the Lord has used to teach me more about Himself and about His ways. I never fail to marvel at His ways.
I pray I'd be able to share more of those treasures here with everyone.

Love in Him,
Sarah

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