Sermons

Summary: Dealing with questions arising from grief, anger, and the "where-abouts" of God that have been voiced over the terrorist attacks on America.

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THE IMAGE OF ONE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM, THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, STOOD ENTWINED IN PLUMES OF SMOKE AS THE WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDING COLLAPSED AFTER TERRORISTS’ PURPOSELY FLEW TWO AIRLINERS OPEN-THROTTLE INTO THEIR STRUCTURES.

THIS BARBARIC AND HATEFUL ATTACK GAVE US A GRAPHIC DEPICTION OF LIBERTY ITSELF UNDER ATTACK. SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, WILL NOW BE FOREVER ETCHED INTO OUR MEMORIES AS AMERICA’S SECOND DAY OF INFAMY AS THOUSANDS OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS - INNOCENT VICTIMS - LOST THEIR LIVES.

THAT FATEFUL TUESDAY MORNING CHANGED OUR WORLD. JUST AS THE PREVIOUS GENERATION OF AMERICANS WAS IRREVOCABLY ALTERED ON DECEMBER 7, 1941, SO THIS GENERATION HAS BEEN FOREVER CHANGED. NOW, WE HAVE QUESTIONS.

SO MANY QUESTIONS TO SORT OUT ONLY TO FIND THAT THERE REALLY ARE SO FEW ANSWERS AVAILABLE. AS ALL OF US SAT BEWILDERED BY THE IMAGES COMING ACROSS OUR TELEVISIONS AND STUNNED BY THE SOUNDS IMINATING FROM OUR RADIOS, WE WERE TRAUMATIZED, IF NOT HORRIFIED.

QUESTIONS RACED THROUGH OUR MINDS: WHY DID THEY DO THAT? HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SO EVIL? WHO IS TO BLAME? WHERE IS GOD? WHAT CAN I DO? AND ARE WE STILL IN DANGER? ARE WE GOING TO WAR?

QUESTIONS ARE SO HARD TO ANSWER IN TRAGIC TIMES. BUT WE ASK QUESTIONS ANYWAY. IF YOU WERE TO GO THROUGH THE BIBLE YOU WOULD SOON FIND THAT IT IS FILLED WITH ALL KINDS OF QUESTIONS.

THERE JUST HAPPENS TO BE ONE PARTICULAR BOOK THAT CONTAINS A DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THAN ANY OTHER BOOK IN THE BIBLE.

WHICH BOOK IS THAT? IT IS THE BOOK OF JOB. JOB HAS OVER 330 QUESTIONS IN ITS 42 CHAPTERS. GENESIS, ONLY HAS 160 AND MATTHEW HAS AROUND 180. EVEN THE BOOK OF PSALMS WITH ITS 150 CHAPTERS HAS ONLY 160.

SO WHY DOES THE BOOK OF JOB HAVE SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS? THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE REASON. IT IS BECAUSE THE BOOK OF JOB DEALS WITH HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.

JOB IS A RIGHTEOUS MAN AND HAS A HEDGE AND A BARRIER SET AROUND HIM, HIS FAMILY, AND HIS BUSINESS. THEN SUDDENLY, WITHOUT WARNING, AND FOR NO REASON, HIS FAMILY AND BUSINESS IS WIPED OUT AND DESTROYED.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BUSINESS OF EVERYDAY LIFE TWO TERRORIST GROUPS CONDUCT A COLD-HEARTED ATTACK BY STEALING JOB’S LIVESTOCK AND KILLING HIS SERVANTS.

THEN, OUT OF THE HEAVENS, FIRE RAINS DOWN AND DESTROYS THE REST OF HIS LIVESTOCK AND HIS SERVANTS. THEN HIS FAMILY IS KILLED IN A FREAK ACCIDENT WHEN A MIGHTY WIND SWEEPS IN FROM THE DESERT COLLAPSES THEIR HOME UPON THEM. ALL OF JOB’S CHILDREN ARE LIFELESS BODIES AMONGST THE PILE OF RUBBLE.

IT WAS SWIFT. IT WAS UNWARRANTED. IT WAS UNCONSCIONABLE. JUST LIKE WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK WHEN OTHERS LOST THEIR FAMILIES. JUST LIKE WHEN WE LOST OUR OWN SERVANTS WHEN FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE WERE KILLED TRYING TO SAVE THOSE TRAPPED IN THE TWO TOWERS.

AMERICA, AS WE KNOW HER, HAS BEEN HIT AND HIT HARD.

QUESTIONS. SO WHAT DO WE DO IN OUR TRAGEDY?

WE DO WHAT JOB DID WHEN HE LEARNED OF HIS LOSS. WE MOURN. HE WAS SILENT WHEN HE RECEIVED THE FIRST TWO REPORTS THAT HIS BUSINESS AND LIVESTOCK WERE COMPLETELY WIPED OUT.

BUT WHEN HE RECEIVED THE NEWS THAT HIS CHILDREN WERE LOST… HE GOT UP AND TORE HIS ROBE. THEN, HE FELL ON HIS KNEES AND MOURNED: “NAKED I CAME FROM MY MOTHER’S WOMB, AND NAKED I WILL RETURN.”

IN OTHER WORDS, EVERYTHING THAT HAD MEANING IN HIS LIFE WAS GONE. AS HE CAME INTO THIS WORLD SO JOB FELT HE WAS LEAVING IT: BARREN.

WE LEARNED AS THE NEWS POURED IN, THAT MANY CHILDREN WOULD NOT BE PICKED UP FROM DAYCARE OR THE BABYSITTERS. LOST WERE DADS, MOMS, GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS, UNCLES, COUSINS, AND FRIENDS.

I HAVE NO DOUBT WE ALL FEEL A CONNECTION TO AT LEAST ONE OF THE STORIES ON THE NEWS OF SOMEONE WHO LOST A LOVED ONE. THE NEWS HAS SHOWN US THEIR FACES AND TOLD THEIR STORIES AND THE MOURNING HAS SOAKED THE FABRIC OF THIS COUNTRY.

WE MOURN FOR EVERY FAMILY LOST. EVERY FAMILY TORN APART. WE WEEP FOR OUR NATION NOT BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN WEAKENED BUT SIMPLY BECAUSE OF OUR LOSS.

MOURNING DOES NOT DEMORALIZE OUR PEOPLE NOR PARALYZE OUR COUNTRY. RATHER, IT UNDERGIRDS OUR STRENGTH AND REVEALS OUR SOUL.

AS PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH SAID, “THESE ACTS OF MASS MURDER WERE INTENDED TO FRIGHTEN OUR NATION INTO CHAOS AND RETREAT. BUT THEY HAVE FAILED. OUR COUNTRY IS STRONG. A GREAT PEOPLE HAS BEEN MOVED TO DEFEND A GREAT NATION. TERRORIST ATTACKS CAN SHAKE THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR BIGGEST BUILDINGS, BUT THEY CANNOT TOUCH THE FOUNDATION OF AMERICA. THESE ACTS SHATTER STEEL, BUT THEY CANNOT DENT THE STEEL OF AMERICAN RESOLVE.” WE MOURN OVER OUR LOSSES.

NOW, WHILE WE MOURN, WE COMMIT OURSELVES NOT TO BECOME CONSUMED WITH ANGER. WE REFUSE TO BECOME DESTROYED BY HATRED WHEN THE WORLD STARTS ASKING THE QUESTION “WHO IS TO BLAME?”

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