Life moves so quickly. Hard to believe that 12 years have passed since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. I was at my desk working as a MIS Director in Kansas at the time. My friend Mike Borchardt called me and asked me to switch on the television. I then went to the conference room and saw the news. I was terribly shocked. Can’t believe what I saw and I’ll never forget watching two planes fly into the side of the World Trade Center. I’ll never forget the innocent, desperate souls jumping from these building, engulfed in flames.
In some ways the terrorist attacks were a uniquely American tragedy. The iconic 110-story World Trade Center epitomized America's economic might. The attacks were also an assault on the whole world, even humanity itself; citizens from 90 countries died that day. Although he first denied any responsibility, on October 30, 2004, Osama bin Laden said that he had directed the attacks.
What have we learned? I have learned that life can end at any given moment—for the most bizarre reason. Evil also exists in the world, despite the good nature of most people. There is also a clash of civilizations–western values and beliefs versus medieval mentality.
So, first, it helps me to remember, as I ponder the mystery of pain and evil, that God did not create them. The second point of light is this: Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good. Now, the third point of light: The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.
A lot of times you’ll hear people say: “If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, then why doesn’t He do it?” And the answer is that because He hasn’t done it yet doesn’t mean He won’t do it.
And the Bible says that the story of this world isn’t over yet. It says the day will come when sickness and pain will be eradicated and people will be held accountable for the evil they’ve committed. Justice will be served in a perfect way. That day will come, but not yet.
He does this by fulfilling His promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Notice that the verse doesn’t say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. And notice that the verse doesn’t say we all will see immediately or even in this life how God has caused good to emerge from a bad circumstance. Remember, we only see things dimly in this world. And notice that God doesn’t make this promise to everyone. He makes the solemn pledge that he will take the bad circumstances that befall us and cause good to emerge if we’re committed to following Him.
Let’s make this crystal clear once more: God did not create evil and suffering. Now, it’s true that he did create the potential for evil to enter the world, because that was the only way to create the potential for genuine goodness and love. But it was human beings, in our free will, who brought that potential evil into reality.
Last week my friends were in "ground zero."
This is the exact spot where New York City's Twin Towers used to stand.
They now call it 9/11 Memorial.
It's consists of two massive pools set within the original footprints of the Twin Towers with 30-foot waterfalls cascading down their sides.
The nearly 3,000 names of the men, women, and children killed in the attacks are inscribed into bronze parapets surrounding the twin Memorial pools.
In a single moment these 3,000 people lost their lives.
They have no idea that on that day of September 11 will be their last day. There will be no tomorrow.
Most of them have not given a chance to say goodbye to their spouse, kids, and loved ones.
Surely, life is short. In a snap, it can be taken away from you.
Today, make an effort to sincerely say "I love you" to people you care and love.
Or say "I'm sorry!" to someone you've hurt.
Or maybe God is convicting you to call someone to say "I forgive you."
Whatever that is, just do it. Make this day a special one and God will be pleased.
Our perspective is extremely limited—we cannot know the future or all of the other events that are occurring in the world. So we should be careful about using our experiences to make assumptions about life in general. Wrong assumptions lead to wrong conclusions.
Job began to wallow in self-pity. When we face baffling affliction, our pain can lure us toward feeling sorry for ourselves. At this point we are only one step away from self-righteousness, where we keep track of life's injustices and say, "Look what happened to me; how unfair it is!" We may feel like blaming God.
If you find yourself doubting God, remember that you probably can't see the whole picture. And when you are struggling, don't assume the worst. God wants only the very best for you. Many people endure great pain, but ultimately they find some greater good came from it.
Remember that life's trials, whether allowed by God or sent by God, can be the means for development and refinement. When facing trials, instead of asking, "Who did this to me and how can I get out of it?" ask, "What can I learn and how can I grow?"
God is perfect in His character, and the projection of His personality is also perfect in every way. We are the problem in this relationship; we are the ones with all the warts and blemishes. These faults are in our thinking, our attitudes, and our character. The reason we draw near to God is to have our wrong thinking and attitudes removed, changed. That is what the relationship is all about, so that we can be like God. He is perfect and mature, and He wants to bring us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.