Sermons

Summary: Where is GOD in troubling times?

9/11 Where Was GOD?

Last Sunday, we read in Romans chapter 5 how tribulations bring forth perseverance, perseverance brings about character and from character, hope. Tribulation comes in many forms. I want to talk this morning about one of the greatest tribulations of my generation. This Tuesday marks the 17th anniversary of the attack against the United States known simply as 9/11. That day is a day that is ingrained into to each of us old enough to remember. Looking back, it is hard to believe 17 years have passed. I recall hearing of the first tower being struck by a plane. At first it seemed it was a horrible accident. It was not even clear what type of plane it was......(tell story) What is your story from that day?

On that day, the death toll from the four commercial aircraft, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Towers totaled 2,996 with another 6,000 injured. That is not the whole story. Nearly 10,000 first responders and volunteers have since been diagnosed with cancers caused by the toxic fumes & dust. Quoting the USA Today newspaper, “By the end of 2018, many expect that more people will have died from their toxic exposure from 9/11 than were killed on that terrible Tuesday.”

That day forever changed me. It may well have been the catalyst that set into motion the path that led me to be standing here today. Until that day, I knew basically nothing about Islam. The only things I knew consisted of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabber, and the Muslim character Morgan Freeman played in Kevin Costners' Robin Hood movie.

Does anyone remember the commercial from the 70s' about littering along the roadways? An Indian steps out from the trees and looks at all the trash along the roadside. A car drives by throwing more trash out of the window. Then it shows a close-up of the Indian as a tear begins to fall from his face. As a kid, I always wondered how & why the Indian could care about something so deeply that it brought him to tears. After all, it was not his land, it was a public roadside.... Now I know.... I knew none of those people in the Towers or on those planes. I've never been to New York City, ...but my heart was broken for all of those affected by that day.

I had questions....... If we are honest with ourselves, ...I bet we all had questions following that day. Why would a religion that was supposedly built upon peace, teach and demonstrate that much hate & violence towards others? Do you recall all of the celebrating & parades shown from the Arab world? ….More importantly to me, and my faith, Where was GOD during this? .... Why does GOD even allow bad things like this to happen?

I was confused. I was hurt. I was angry, ...& I was scared. I had two young children and I didn't know what was coming next. I was questioning GOD....and I didn't even know if it was alright to question GOD. For all I knew, GOD might strike me down just for challenging HIM.

This morning, I'd like to share what I've discovered since. Maybe this will help some of you as well. The first thing I've learned is that GOD is big enough to handle our questions. HE has broad shoulders. GOD is not petty. HE did not give up on me, even when I was close to giving up on HIM.

The second thing I learned was that I wasn't even the first person to question GOD. In fact, the Bible offers several examples of this very thing. In Psalm 10:1, the writer asks Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble? Jesus Himself asked this same question in Mathew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The destruction of the Twin Towers was devastating to me, watching over & over the collapse of the buildings, the billowing black clouds of smoke, the ash collecting upon cars and on the faces of those on site.

There is an example, just as devastating to those involved, & eerily similar found in the Bible. We will start in the Old Testament with the Books of Jeremiah & Lamentations. The ending of Jeremiah & the beginning of Lamentations deal with the same time period. It describes the destruction of Jerusalem & the first Jewish Temple by fire from the Babylonians. This is modern day Iraq.

Jeremiah 52:12-14 Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), {Remember we mentioned calendars before? Nebuchadnezzar did not know what year he was in, nor was B.C. or A.D. even thought about} Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13 He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great, he burned with fire. 14 And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around.

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