I’ve been thinking a great deal about the coming elections, school decisions, war, peace, and the world. I will be frank and honest – I sometimes wonder where God is and what exactly he’s doing. Today in my Sunday School class we were talking about how the Israelites desired a king, but God told them it was not the right time. But they wanted one anyway, so He gave one to them.
I wondered how exactly that worked – was God still sovereign over that situation? Did their choices have some sort of pull in the great scheme of things? Was God just shrugging His shoulders, sighing, and giving them a king? Or did He plan all of this all along. It reminded me of a post I wrote about September 11 last August.
It was more than a day of “infamy” for those of us who stood in front of our television screens watching the falling, the fear, the flashes. We watched as two towers burned, gaping holes billowing smoke, screams, tears, sirens, frantic phone calls to family and friends. I need not describe that day to you — September 11. The silence when those words are spoken speaks volumes to the great tragedy felt within all of our hearts. In thinking about that day, most of us turn to our Sovereign God and cry out — how can this be happening? How, Dear God, can You allow such tragedy? Why could You not stop this? How is this right? How is this just?
For many atheists and agnostics, September 11 is a great tool within their arsenal of arguments against God. Was it’s God justice on America on September 11? they all ask. And to that I reply: God is just in all that He does, and September 11 was no exception. Was it God’s specific “justice” on America? That I will never answer with a positive “yes” or “no” on this earth.
To put it plainly, God was just in everything that He did on September 11. He is in control of everything that takes place on this earth, and was in control on that day. Did He let it happen? Yes, God allowed September 11 to happen. Do I know why He allowed it to happen? No, I don’t know why He let it happen. Who am I, but a mere man to understand God’s ways? Who can know the mind of God but Himself? I know that answer hurts — embracing the unknown, embracing faith, embracing truth is always hard. What kind of God let’s thousands die innocent deaths? Did He ignore the prayers of those Christians in those buildings asking for deliverance and safety?
First of all, none are innocent. Not one. Everyone deserves death — we do not deserve any life whatsoever on this earth. We are all sinners who by God’s grace are granted another day to live. So, in that respect, it was just of God to allow September 11 to happen. To say that it was His direct punishment is to put ourselves in the place of God. As mere man, we cannot say that it was or was not God’s punishment on sinful people. But we can say that everyone that died that day and who continues to die today receive their due punishment for sin.
We don’t like that answer — mystery is not something we seem to want to settle with. But all of us can look at that day and say — God was in control. We have to or we deny God’s sovereignty over His creation. When we understand this truth, days like September 11 make sense. We see a day where God chose to allow a great tragedy for His purpose. What that purpose is remains a mystery to us, but we do know that God works through all things for His glory. All things happen for His glory. Salvation is not centrally about Him loving us, but about Him glorifying Himself. It is no different with days like September 11.
You’re saying that day will bring glory to God? Ultimately, yes. For some reason, God chose for that tragic day to occur for his glory. I know that sounds horrible, disgusting, and cold. It’s not — if I were God I would have stopped that day. But I am not God — and I do not know the future, or the plans for the world. God does.
God was just in everything that He did on September 11. Yes, God allowed September 11 to happen. I don’t know why He let it happen, but I do know that it is all about His glory. Perhaps that day pointed thousands to consider their eternity without the cross as the center of their lives? Perhaps thousands will remember that day and not see simply terror, but the brave men and women who were their sacrificing their lives for men and women they had never seen or met? Whatever it is, we will know this: God was just on that day, and will always be just in everything that He does and allows.
It seems to me that God knew what he was doing. He didn’t just throw his hands in the air and exclaim “Oh my!” when the first plane hit. Neither does is He surprise when we disobey him. Which is a great, unfathomable mystery to me. God is sovereign, yet I choose, yet he has pre-ordained all of my days.
I simply turn from my thoughts and bow at the foot of the cross, where the Prince of Glory died. Who am I that You are mindful of me? I can only sit and contemplate on the utter unfathomable depth of God. I can’t wait for heaven.