I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately – the deep kind, the sustaining kind, the kind that gets you through something like what happened to James Foley, the New Hampshire reporter who was brutally executed this week.
From all the accounts I’ve read, James found hope and consolation in prayer. It wasn’t the first time he’d been kidnapped. In 2011 he and two colleagues were kidnapped and released in Libya. After that ordeal, in a letter to Marquette University, his alma mater, he spoke of the power and strength that came to him through prayer. He and a colleague would pray together. He said, “It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.” [i]
We have not heard how Foley sustained himself during this second ordeal, but in the aftermath of his death, his parents, John and Diane Foley spoke outside their home in Rochester, NH. It was not a press conference filled with anger or threats of retribution. Their words were words of sadness, of gratitude, and of an abiding sense of hope: “Jimmy’s free. He is finally free!”
I don’t know whether or not John and Diane Foley always had such faith or if theirs is a faith rising out of the suffering they have endured. I don’t know how I would endure such pain myself.
But today I am grateful that James Foley grew up in a family which nurtured his faith in a loving God who was there in the midst of his captivity, with whom he could share his deepest fears and hopes, and who consoles his family now.
Jimmy’s free. He is finally free.