Date: November 23, 2015
Middle East (SAT-7*) — SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, is quick to respond to current events and bring a spiritual perspective often missing in other reporting. There is a desperate need for hope and reconciliation in the Middle East and North Africa, and it’s evident these needs exist in Europe and the West too.
On 13 November, Lebanon mourned Beirut’s deadliest bombings since its civil war. On the same day, Paris also faced tragic bombings on a massive scale and just two weeks prior, a Russian plane was bombed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. All three acts were claimed by the militant group ISIS and, at a critically-devastating moment, the SAT-7 current affairs program Bridges covered the events for concerned and grieving viewers.
The fallout of terrorism extends beyond the precious lives taken during attacks. Egypt’s tourism industry, for example, has taken a dive, meaning workers are being laid off, wondering how they will pay rent and buy groceries for their families. Public morale is suffering as people wonder how God could let such ugly things happen. Fear and social ripples that result from it, something with which the Middle East and North Africa are all too familiar, are becoming a public concern in Europe and the United States.
During the Bridges episode, host Bassem Maher (pictured above) discussed the Sinai plane crash and how Egypt’s tourism industry can recover from the hit. Tourism industry experts and business owners called to discuss how the government and investors are working in cooperation to boost the industry. This not only showed empathy for those affected by the plane crash but also provided hope that the future could be better.
A final segment of the program asked, Why does God allow pain in humanity, and where is God during times of pain? Special guests included Dr. Edram Lamey, a Professor in Comparative Religion, and Rev. Gohar Azmy, Secretary General of the Evangelical Synod. They explained that pain results from humans committing sin using the freedom that God gives them. They reassured viewers with the example of Joseph in the Old Testament, who underwent severe hardship but was later blessed as he fulfilled God’s plan.
The guests gave the audience a hopeful message from 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
God is using SAT-7 to remind us He is working His purposes even and especially in the face of evil. Please keep praying for peace throughout the world, and consider continuing support of ministries like SAT-7.
(*article has a minor edit for MNN context)