I got up this morning, made myself a cup of coffee, and sat down to watch the morning news. And here we are again, on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 World Trade Centers disaster.
There were many remarkable things about that event that I have thought about every year since then, but right now I want to single out two of them. First, it always brings to mind the question, “If God is so loving, why does He let things like this happen?”
The short answer to this question is that we have to remember that God gave ALL people the gift of FREE WILL. Because He does not show favoritism, the free will He gives to believers, He also gives to non-believers, so that they may one day CHOOSE to BELIEVE in Christ as their savior as a choice of their free will.
Sadly, that also means that there a lot of people in the world who are terribly broken and allow their sinful nature to lead their lives and influence their decisions. All seven billion people on this planet are sinners and broken people – myself included. God does not want events like 9/11 to take place. He cries with us when things like this happen.
But, He also stands with open arms of healing and salvation for those who are hurting, for those who DO choose Him. And that’s the second thing I find remarkable about the events of 9/11. Immediately after those tragedies, churches across the country reported record breaking attendance. People began searching for comfort and peace, and when they were unable to find it internally, they reached outwardly to God.
Both bad things and good things do, in fact, happen to good and bad people. It’s part of the condition of living in a FALLEN WORLD. So, God, in His infinite wisdom, keeps trying to tell us that OUR LIFE HERE is only a prelude to an ETERNAL LIFE. He tells us in:
John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God recognized that because we are all born into a broken, sinful condition, that we needed to have a RESCUER from this condition. Someone that could MAKE SURE that we could move safely from this sinful world to His perfect and eternal world. And that RESCUER is God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
See, here’s the hard part to grasp in all of this… this world is a level playing field for both the good and bad, and where we go after this world is OUR CHOICE. However, God wants us to choose His Better Eternal Life because WE WANT HIM, not because He coerces us to do so. So, in this world, He INVITES us to JOIN HIM for all eternity.
Sadly, it takes events like 9/11 to remind people that LIFE DOESN’T END HERE. Hope doesn’t end here. There is a better way than being stuck here. If we want to see past the brokenness, see past the hurt and the pain, and see past the challenges of this world, then we have to look no further than Jesus Christ, the One who holds our eternal future in His hands.
Philippians 3:13-14
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
We are only on this planet for a short time. Yet, it’s easy to become short-sighted and think that everything we seek to accomplish is for our own present glory. But God is calling us to LIVE BEYOND this world. He beckons us to LIVE ETERNALLY today. The life we choose today does impact our eternal life. And the PAINS we endure today, will be replaced by JOY in our forever tomorrow.
God bless you all, and we hope to see you Sunday!
— Pastor David McCall