Summary: A message delivered at the community prayer service for the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
He is Still in Control
Community Prayer Service, 1st Baptist Church
Thursday, September 13, 2001
(In honor of those killed in terrorist attacks
in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania)
One of the biggest dilemmas facing us as we contemplate the tragedy is “Where is God when all this is happening?” We ask similar questions, such as “Why, God?” and “How, “God?”
I wish I had all the answers for you, but I would venture to guess that while many of us can think of rational explanations, none would be sufficient to comfort the hearts of those grieving.
So I am not here to offer answers, but rather to encourage you that God hears the cry of the heart, that He understands, and that He is still in control.
I. It is okay to ask God, “Why?”
King David was no stranger to adversity. He faced danger and adversity throughout his whole life.
As a shepherd boy he had to face dangers from the lion and the bear. As a young man he faced the giant Goliath, knowing that failure to kill him would mean defeat for the entire army of Israel.
Before becoming king, he was hunted like an animal by Saul, who was intent on killing him.
And it didn’t get much better after he became king.
In fact, it seemed to get worse. His children were constantly fighting and bickering amongst each other, and one was murdered by another after raping a half-sister.
And if that wasn’t enough, his own son Absolom tried to have him killed so he could take over the kingdom.
David was no stranger to trials and suffering.
And he was no stranger to God. His relationship with God was such that He could cry out in disbelief and wonder.
Verse one of Psalm 13 says this:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
When we look at what happened on Tuesday, we are inclined to look to the sky and ask the same question.
But that’s okay. God’s not afraid of your questioning. He’s bigger than that.
So call out to Him. He may not answer you to your satisfaction, but He does hear, and He will not ignore.
II. It’s okay to ask, “Help!”
When life deals us its worst, we have a place to turn. We have someone who hears and can help.
Verses 3-4 show the cry of David as he looks about and only sees terror.
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
David doesn’t look to his own might, his own brilliance as a general and leader, he looks to God.
He knows where He can find his ultimate source of encouragement and strength. His God is the same God described by Isaiah as the One who holds the universe in His hand and calls the starry host by name, to whom nations are like a drop in a bucket.
He calls on God because God is able to help.
III. It’s okay because He is still in control.
Verses 5-6 say this:
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.
Notice David says, “Your unfailing love.”
David knew that people would fail him. But He could trust the Lord to come through for Him.
As we seek to come to grips with our own shock, horror, grief, and wonder at the events of Tuesday, let us cling to God’s unfailing love.
By the way, God knows what it’s like to grieve over the loss of a loved one.
Remember that He gave His precious Son, who was treated cruelly by evil men and killed.
God knows that sorrow of loss. He’s been there.
In closing, allow me to read the last 3 verses of Psalm 10, just a page or two before our passage.
The LORD is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
May God grant us the strength to face this tragedy with the certainty that ultimately, God will triumph over evil, for our sake, and for His glory.
Shall we pray.