September 11, 2001

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on September 11, 2001 under Ask the Pastor | Be the First to Comment

Dear Pastor Greg,

After the horrors of this morning’s events in the east, I have to wonder what we can do? My kids are all numb and almost destroyed psychologically — what can I tell them (and me) to ease the pain. Prayer I know….

It is so hard when one doesn’t even know the enemy!! I have strong thoughts about who it might be, but they are connected to no country or government. What to do?

Can you give any comforting words about this?

Dear Friend:

Thanks for your note. I was glad to see you at the prayer meeting last night … I hope that our time of praying together helped ease some of the anxiety that you expressed in your note.

I wish I had answers. Everyone asks “Why” at times like this; but of course, there’s no reasonable answer. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). And I feel that, yesterday, we were shown a depth of evil that makes us agree that it’s something we can’t fully know or understand. The next verse says, though, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Even though I can’t fully understand the reasons why human beings could sink to the depths we saw yesterday (I don’t think any of us can understand it this side of glory); I know that God not only knows the depths of such evil minds, but is also able to administer ultimate justice to those who perpetrate such unspeakable evil.

You asked what we can tell people at times like this; and I think that we can freely admit that we don’t have all the answers. But I think we should readily affirm that God does. We can affirm that God is good, because He sent His Son to die on a cross to save people from the ultimate consequences of evil. We can affirm that God understands our pain and confusion, because His own Son experienced the pain and death we feel on earth through the cross. We can affirm that evil has a source, first in the devil who is a rebel against God, and second in the fall of mankind through the scheming of the devil; and that God has done something about the root cause of it all in sending Jesus to die and to be raised on our behalf.

Perhaps we won’t have such a hard time affirming the fact of man’s falleness now; since people have seen it first-hand in such a horrible way. (It’s going to be pretty hollow whenever someone brags about the supposed ‘ultimate goodness of mankind’.) And I think that this would be a truly hopeless world if we couldn’t point to the cross of Jesus and say, “See? Yes this is an evil world; and it’s our fault that it is, because we’re sinners. But it’s not a hopeless world; because look what God had done to save us!” Someone once said that this world will become so dark with sin that the light of the good news of Jesus will shine even brighter by contrast. The Bible tells us that God works in this world so that people “should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us …” (Acts 17:27). People are certainly groping for Him now. And so, in answer to the question, “What can we do?”; I think the most important thing we can do is point people to Jesus, so they can be delivered from the dreadful effects of sin and be transformed from the inside out.

We can also be praying for our leaders. God has commanded us to do that (1 Tim. 2:1-8). And I think also that such horrible tragedies as the one we saw yesterday should be the call for us to show the love of Christ to people in need. We can give blood, or send money, or food, or medical
supplies – and not least of all, our prayers; and do it all in Jesus’ name.

As far as what can we do militarily “when one doesn’t even know the enemy”; on a temporal level, we can pray for our leaders while they are seeking to investigate this awful act of war. We can pray that they’ll find the parties responsible and bring them to justice – as much justice, of course, as it’s within the power of human governments to administer. (There is a point where we can do no more, and must trust the ultimate justice of God.) But I also believe that we can know who – ultimately – the enemy behind all this is. We’re at war with this enemy, ultimately, because we belong to God – and he is at war against God. And we can rejoice in the fact that he is an enemy who has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11) – a defeated enemy doomed to be cast soon into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).

I believe with all my heart that God will bring good out of something that seems so horribly evil. I wish I could say we’ll see all the good God will bring from it in our lifetime on earth; but I don’t know that I can say that. But I believe that, by faith, God is at work even now – even as you read this note – in ways that demonstrate His greater power over evil. He’ll show it, and we’ll see it soon. We need to keep praying that His Son will be glorified in the midst of all this, and that the world will see it, too.

I don’t know if that answers every question you might have. (I’m sure it doesn’t. It was an awfully big question.) But those are the things I’ve been thinking. God bless you.

Pastor Greg

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