Summary: This sermon deals with tragedy of the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and the plane in PA. God works even in tragedies.
And Where Was God
Three eleven year old students, Bernard Brown, Asia Cotton, and Rodney Dickens were the envy of many of their classmates. It’s one thing to go on a field trip, but to go on a field trip that takes you all the way across the country, that’s something to be excited about. They probably talked about it for weeks. Imagine if you had been one of their proud parents, wouldn’t you have found a way to let people know, your child would be one of only three kids who would be flying cross country for a field trip with three other teachers.
When the airline gave the boarding call for those with small children to board first, they probably saw 3 year old Dana and 8 year old Zoe get on board with their father Charles Falkenburgh. That same boarding call had been heard and responded to in Boston in which 3 year olds David Brandhorst, Christine Hanson and 4 year old Julianna McCourt, got on board another plane. What began for each of these children as a day of great possibilities and excitement, very quickly turned into a nightmare in which all 8 of them were to be among some of the youngest victims enclosed in planes which literally became bombs.
In less than an hour of those children boarding the planes, our nation experienced it’s greatest loss of life in a sixty minute span of time. We were thrown into confusion and turmoil wondering what was going on. We looked on in horror and disbelief, not even wanting to truly consider the massive amount of pain and suffering which had been inflicted into the hearts of many in the nation. Many of us immediately began to pray. As a church, we joined our brothers and sisters across the country and had a prayer service for the families of the victims and for our leaders.
Some people wanted to know, “And where was God when those planes were crashing into the towers.” It is amazing how this tragedy will affect the lives of many when it comes to God. Some will say, there must not be a God, because how could God allow something like this to happen. Others will say, “well if there is a God, then God must not care about us.” Still others will say, “there is a God, and we must continue to hold on to God’s unchanging hand.”
Few things will harm us more when tragedy enters our lives than a poor understanding of who God is and how God operates in the lives of His people. Psalms 24:1 tells us, The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; The first thing we need to understand about God, is that God has a global perspective on everything.
Contrary to what we believe, “God is not an American, nor is God pro-American. God is God. The Scriptures tell us that all who live in this world belong to God. It does not matter whether they know it or not. They are all loved by Him, whether they be in America, the Middle East, and anywhere else. Jesus died for the world and no single nation has a claim on God or on God’s favor.
When we ask the question “where was God when this happened”, are we doing the same thing as Martha did. Do you remember how after the death of her brother Lazarus, she told Jesus, “Lord if you had of been here, my brother would not have died.” Did the thought cross our mind, “Lord if you had of been in New York City, or at the Pentagon, or in that field in Pa., this would not have happened.” Let me ask you this question, do you think God was more obligated to do something to spare the lives of 10,000 Americans, than God was obligated to stop the slaughter of 500,000 Tutsis in Rawanda in Africa a few years ago? Were those Africans somehow less important or not quite as righteous as the Americans in the eyes of God.
Jesus asked a similar question when people were trying to decide why some people had tragedies happen to them when they were innocent. One day a tower collapsed in the city of Siloam killing people below. Jesus said, “Luke 13:4-5 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Jesus appears to be telling us is that tragedy should lead to repentance because it reminds us of how fragile life truly is.
Unfortunately, our nation is being called to prayer, but not to repentance. Let us face it, part of what has us where we are, has been our own false sense of power and pride. How often have we heard in the past few days, “we are the most powerful nation on the face of the earth.” Where is God when we make these proud and boastful statements, for the word God tells us, Prov 16:5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Our call is not to repentence, but to be prepared to go to war. 40,000 reservist are being called up to active duty.