I had another blog written for today, but then I noticed the date. 9/11. A significant day in the history of our nation. It’s important for us to pause and remember this day.
I may not have a completely satisfying answer as to why God allowed 9/11 to happen. But I do know that the Lord is still good, and He’s faithful. He is merciful, and He is mighty. And John 3:16 is still true.
I also know that our cities are of this earth. They are temporary and can be destroyed. But as Christians we are citizens of a city that is not of this earth, is permanent and can never be destroyed. This is where our hope is found. This is our future.
Numerous times in Scripture God is described as “gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love”. I also read in the Bible that “God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked”. And yet Scripture clearly teaches that one day He will bring terrible justice on the world to those that have rejected Him.
But let me be clear that I do not hold 9/11 was God’s specific judgement on our nation. I know many hold to that view, but I’m not convinced this was the case on 9/11. And yet must acknowledge His Word is clear that “He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.” (Job 12:23) And also “He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries. “(Acts 17:26)
But I’m still reminded of the words of that great theologian, and songwriter, Bruce Cockburn: “Everybody loves to see justice done, on somebody else.” I also know the Bible reminds us "it is time for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
Most will agree that since 9/11 our nation continues to move further and further from God. So if He were to ever bring judgement, I think it would be now. I find it striking that since 9/11 there seems to more tolerance for any religion other than Christianity. Maybe that's society kicking back at a belief system that holds mankind accountable and has a much higher standard for our behavior. A way of living that requires total submission to the One True God. A lifestyle of putting others’ needs before our own. Remember Jesus tells us because the World first hated Him, they will also hate us (John 15:18).
He also announced that He did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34). And yet Jesus assures us "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) And He says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Citizens of the City of God have this peace.
So what is our response to 9/11? As peace begins inwardly, I think prayer is our best response. And lots of it. We must pray for our national leaders. We should pray for the safety of our land. We can pray for our military. And we must pray that Jesus will become known by those who don’t know Him.
But what about an outward response to the anniversary of 9/11? Here are two things we need to keep doing:
1) We keep loving our enemies. On the cross Jesus prayed for the very ones that put Him there. Their forgiveness was of great concern to him. Those religious people truly thought they were doing God’s will, but they didn’t realize what they were doing. We need to be aware of just how significant this is.
We also remember that true love keeps no record of wrong-doing (1 Corinthians 13). We can remember who was responsible for 9/11, but we let the Lord, and Him alone, hold them accountable for their actions. This love compels us to pray for those trapped in Islam, who long for true peace and for true freedom. Who think they are doing the will of God. I keep hearing amazing stories of Muslims who are seeing visions of Jesus Christ and coming to faith in Him. This should be cause for great rejoicing! Our attitude should be the same as the Prodigal’s Father, and not his brother. We rejoice because a sinner has come home. And that leads to our second response:
2) We keep sharing the Gospel. Years ago I came to the realization that when extreme circumstances beyond our control and understanding cause us to feel helpless, confused and angry (like 9/11), the best way to fight back is telling someone what Jesus has done for us. When we confess that Jesus Christ is the one true Son of God, the Savior of the World; that He longs to bring forgiveness and salvation; and how He reconciles us to God, making peace, through His blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20) the gates of Hell will not prevail. Victory means robbing Hell and populating that eternal City, to which we are citizens. It may be Friday, but Sunday’s coming soon.
Pray, love and share. That’s our 9/11 remembrance.