This week on the anniversary of the terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are reliving those moments — those hours — those days of the horrific event. On that day, …
This week on the anniversary of the terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are reliving those moments — those hours — those days of the horrific event. On that day, I received the news via cellphone as I was in the northern part of Jordan in the Middle East.
Through the years, much has been said from the spiritual viewpoint — from infuriating to sanctimonious.
A few months after the United States experienced the attacks, I ran across an article in a locally published church magazine, The Evening Light, titled, “A Fitting Reflection on the Towers.” Written by Jacob Doran of Aurora, Ill., it gives a clear answer to questions concerning God and the tragedy. I ran the article in December 2001. In remembrance, I am reprinting it today:
“A friend of mine from work recently approached me about a statement that he had heard on television ... ‘God had sent this tragedy to call America to repentance for its ungodliness.’ My friend could not believe that God would do such a thing.
My response — after silently asking the Lord for wisdom to answer — was that, although the Lord had often sent affliction upon the ungodly in the Bible, God does not have terrorists on his payroll. And, as far as the incident being a clarion call to repentance, that call was given some 2,000 years ago and has echoed across every continent of earth ever since.
Granted, not everyone has heard the call — and God certainly can use tragedy to bring to light our tremendous need for him — but God will work in the midst of all our circumstances — both great and small — to bring us closer to him. God does not have to manufacture those circumstances (we humans excel in that area, without any supernatural help). He will, however, work through each circumstance, both to accomplish good and to reveal his glory to those who need him. Neither do firefighters, rescue workers, or the Red Cross go around perpetuating disasters, but they certainly shine when disasters happen and we see them in action, rescuing and giving aid to those in need.
It just so happens that when tragedy strikes, we become aware of how fragile our world is — how quickly our lives can be forever changed (or even ended). It is not the physical vulnerability that ought to be foremost on our hearts, but the imminent reality of spiritual truth.
Jesus gave his disciples, as well as those seekers of truth who came to him, the sobering insight to ‘... fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matthew 10:28 KJV).
Death is a reality which, sooner or later, every living thing must face. For some, life is much briefer than for others. It is not that first death that we must ultimately fear. Rather, what ought to concern us is the one death which men are able to escape though repentance and union with Jesus Christ. This brings to mind a passage in which Jesus directly addresses this issue for us, when some men had spoken to Jesus of some local news, in which Pilate had killed some Galilean men in the temple court.
‘And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those 18, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ (Luke 13:2-5 KJV).
His words intimate that the physical demise of men does not imply their spiritual condition ... If we were to be punished for all the sins of our hearts and conversation that deserved to be punished by God, we should all have perished as horribly as these.
The sudden and tragic end of others should but sober us to the reality that we, too, shall be called to give an account of how we have spent our lives.”
(Printed with permission)
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