On Easter Sunday in Lahore, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when all the church services for the day had concluded without incident; they could rest and not worry. So, families went out in the evening to take advantage of the good weather at local parks and play areas with their children. What no one thought would happen was that suicide bombers had chosen Easter Sunday to rig the rides at the Iqbal Park.
More than 65 people were reported dead and there was a search for credible figures as to how many of those injured were Christians. Meanwhile, an IS-associated militant group took responsibility and claimed that they followed through with this attack in order to ensure that Christians and the authorities were hurt.
Hundreds were taken to hospitals. Teams of Christians in Lahore were put together to go to hospitals and homes visiting with the victims of the attacks. They interrupted the visits for funerals. Then more trips to hospitals, praying that as they continued to visit homes and hospitals, they would be bringing the gospel and the resurrection life of Christ.
For some, the incident recalled the nightmare of the Peshawar attacks in 2013, and feeling that pain all over again was a troubling reminder that the pain is not over yet.
At the same time as the attack on the park, another tragedy was unfolding in Islamabad as militant supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, the man executed for assassinating former governor Salman Taseer, protested violently in the capital city, attacking no-go zones. This came days after an angry mob protested and attacked a Muslim celebrity-turned-Mullah for his blasphemous comments regarding Ayesha, the Prophet’s wife.
The situation in the country is tense, volatile and uncertain, with threats of more attacks.
Father, we turn to you with tears, our hearts broken over these innocent women and children who were targeted in this attack. We weep, too, for the authorities, first responders who were also targeted. And so we turn to You, our sovereign Lord who is full of mercy and comfort. Gather those who are suffering now in Lahore in Your arms of compassion and strength. As they walk through each day, fill them with wisdom and courage and hope. As they see their own weakness and vulnerability, lift their eyes to see Your strength and sovereignty. As they pour out to You all their bewilderment and fear, calm their minds with Your peace that surpasses all understanding. And for those who harbor evil in their hearts, plotting and carrying out such atrocities, break through the bondage of their sin and turn their hearts to love Christ and serve His kingdom purposes. Fill this land with the knowledge and glory of Christ. In the name of Jesus, the Deliverer and Redeemer of His people, Amen.