As we observe the 20th anniversary of 9/11, many of us can remember that day so clearly. We can visualize where we were and recall what we were doing when we stopped to watch our televisions. In stunned silence, we witnessed the first, and then the second, tower of the World Trade Center collapse in a heap of rubble.
In the forefront of our minds was the shock of Is this really happening? But in the background was the disquiet of What does this mean for the future? The realization that our borders were not impenetrable, our defenses were not impregnable, and our nation was not invulnerable was an eye-opening experience for many of us.
I visited what was being called “Ground Zero” only days after this horrific and senseless attack. I stood in absolute amazement at the spot where the mighty twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood and watched the smoke billow from the mass of destruction. It was all so surreal and incredibly sad.
On September 11, 2001, God allowed in the life of a nation what He so often allows in the lives of individuals: tragedy. I wish I could tell you that tragedy only strikes in the life of the godless, but we know the godly also suffer. Why does God allow tragedy?
Of course, there are no easy answers to this question. But I do believe that one reason is because suffering peels away the veneer of self-sufficiency in our lives. It melts away the pretense that we don’t need help. It reminds us that we need God. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.”
It may come as a surprise to some people that the Bible does not promise a life that is free from suffering. But it does promise the presence of God for the person who believes. The Bible promises that God will help us through that suffering if we allow Him to.
Thinking back to the events of 9/11 and the days that followed, we were barely beginning to understand that a whole new kind of battle had begun. It was at that time that the phrase “War on Terror” was coined. More than a military conflict, though it includes that, the war we now face is a war of ideas, a war of beliefs.
You see, fear is what gives terrorism its teeth. And today, we have no shortage of things to fear: The fear of suffering, the fear of death, the fear of an uncertain future—all these dissipate when we turn our focus to God. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear and that God is this perfect love. God removed the sting of death and gained victory over the terror of the grave more than 2,000 years ago when He sent His Son to die on the cross.
Let me direct your attention to another “911” that our country can turn to in times of urgency: Psalm 91:1, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (NLT). The psalmist goes on to say, “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust him” (verse 2 NLT). May we, as a nation, find safety and refuge in the shelter of the Almighty as we trust in Him.
And let’s not forget to pray for the comfort of those who lost loved ones 20 years ago.
Did you pray with Pastor Greg?
To help you get started, we would love to send you a free Bible and other resources to help you grow in your faith.Get Resources
A thank-you for your gift this month
Donate to Harvest today and we will thank you with a copy of Revelation: A Book of Promises.Support now