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Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later

I still remember that morning 10 years ago. I got in my car to go to work, turned on the news, and heard ... that airplanes were running into buildings???!!! No, that can't be right. I pulled into the nearest gas station and went inside. "Hey," I said, "I'm hearing weird stuff on my radio. Are you hearing the same stuff?" He nodded gravely. When I got to work, the TV in the breakroom was on and there it was in all its horror. The company for which I worked in California had an office in one of the World Trade Center buildings, so our group was particularly keen on watching what happened. (Everyone from our company got out okay.)

The week went on from that awful Tuesday morning. Non-stop news of death and destruction. It was mind-numbing. I remember, then, on the Sunday following as I got ready for church that I suddenly didn't want to go. I'd heard 5 solid days of nothing but this stuff, and I was pretty sure the pastor would follow up with more of that stuff. I'd heard enough, thanks. And then I remembered that he had been preaching on Ephesians 1 and the next verse in his sequence was verse 11 and my heart sang. That was something I wanted to hear.

Well, the pastor missed his cue, I'm sorry to say. He glanced right over the topic and the verse and kept going. There was no passage more delightful to my ears at that time in history, but he missed it and I was disappointed. So today, the 10th anniversary of that nightmare day, in remembrance of it all, I want to be sure to point out the good news that the pastor back then seemed to miss.
In [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of [God] who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:11-12).
There it is, in all its wonder. Oh, you didn't miss it, too, did you? Look at what Paul says. He says that God "works all things according to the counsel of His will." Imagine that! He worked the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 according to His will. He worked Hurricane Katrina according to His will. He worked the tsunamis in both Indonesia and Japan according to His will. Every natural event on the planet falls under the category of "all things", so the Lord God worked them all. But the events of 9/11 weren't natural events. They were the product of evil men acting on evil intent to produce an evil outcome. So I ask you, do the events that people cause fall under the category "all things"? I think they have to (or it's a much smaller category than it seems). That means that God intended "according to the counsel of His will" to allow those evil men to produce their evil outcome for His good purposes.

Back in Genesis some other evil men intended to snuff out the life of their hated brother. They didn't, but they sold him instead into slavery. Through a series of events, this hated brother ended up the second in command in Egypt, saving the lives of his brothers and the rest of his family. Fearing their brother's revenge, these evil men urged him to forgive them. You remember what he told them, don't you? "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen 50:20). In the final analysis of the events of 9/11, we can say precisely the same thing. They meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. It certainly resulted in a lot of evil. Yet, faith is premised not on sight, but on what cannot be seen. We can, then, based on the character of God, His goodness, and His sovereignty, be absolutely sure that, even if we can't enumerate all the good, the events that we recall 10 years ago were allowed by God for His good purposes and He has and will accomplish the good He intends. Let me tell you, when I have that kind of certainty, the horrors that we face in this world pale in comparison to His goodness and His sovereignty.

1 comment:

Miklós said...

Good to seek the Lord in all our ways.

"Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." (Psalms 94.)