Summary: In the midst of a nation where people are beginning to ask questions about where God was when New York & Washington were hit, this is a humble effort to deal with that question.
OPEN: A little girl came home from a neighbor’s house where her little friend had died.
"Why did you go?" questioned her father.
"To comfort her mother," said the child.
"What could you do to comfort her?"
"I climbed into her lap and cried with her."
APPLICATION: In this mother’s time of grief, this child knew what would bring comfort. She shared in the mother’s tears and sorrow. Sometimes, that’s what’s needed.
But there are times (when faced with unthinkable loss) those who grieve want something else… they want answers to questions they can’t understand. In the midst of tragedy… people ask questions.
The book of Job (for example) tells of the life of a man named Job who lost his possessions, his children and then his health in a series of catastrophes that left him grieving in the dirt outside his home. In the book of Job we find over 330 questions being asked of himself, his friends and his God.
As I’ve visited with people over the past couple of weeks, they’ve asked questions. All kinds of questions. And none of them were easy to answer.
Many of the questions reminded me of the mother who realized that her two boys were hearing things about our national tragedy at school & on TV. Setting down with them she began to talk
in broad strokes about bad people & bad things.
"Where was God?" the older boy asked.
"He was there," she answered.
The younger boy became angry and asked "Why didn’t God stop the bad people?"
Those are hard questions… and those are just a couple of the questions on people’s hearts. The answers to these questions will not remove our national sadness, nor will it bring those who have died back to life. But as Christians, we need to consider these questions seriously, because
there will be others around us will be asking questions like these – if they haven’t already.
I. Why did this have to happen? Where was God? Why didn’t He stop it?
The answer: I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.
Terrorism of this magnitude always happens in someone else’s country... not ours. Northern Ireland, Palestine, Africa, some S. American country… but not here.
The question on everyone’s mind is – why should this happen to us? We’re not like all those other countries. Why us?
Really, though, the question shouldn’t be why us?, but rather why not us? What is it about the United States that should exempt us from the same tragedies other nations have suffered?
Are we somehow better than all these other nations are?
There are those who will tell you that America is a great nation. And it is, it is THE superpower in the world today. And in many ways, America is a "good" nation, reaching out to other nations in very positive and commendable ways. I am grateful to be an American, part of a nation with wealth and freedom beyond anything before known in history. But there has been a growing apprehension among many people of faith, that America has increasingly grown more and immoral.
Not so long ago, Ruth Graham (the wife of Evangelist Billy Graham) commented: "If God doesn’t bring judgment on America soon, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."
Why would she say that? What has been so terrible about the United States, that she would compare us to Sodom and Gomorrah? Some years ago Donald Wildmon, the founder of American Family Association wrote (commenting about the belief some have had that America was a "Christian nation"):
“The truth is we are anything but a Christian nation. Our behavior as a nation makes a mockery of Christianity. We lead the world in every abomination known to man - abortion, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, divorce, child abuse, violent crime, pornography, and yes, even child pornography. Worse yet, we export our violence and immorality to other countries through our sleazy movies and TV programs. We have become the moral polluter of planet earth.
In our schools we have abolished prayer, removed the ten commandments, and banned the distribution of Bibles. We have terrorized our teachers into believing they will lose their jobs if they mention God to their students. We have even mandated the teaching of evolution and have prohibited the truth of creationism. We are in the process of legalizing and encouraging sodomy. We are handing out condoms and needles to our youth.
"We are going out of our way to protect every expression of profanity and obscenity. America is thumbing its nose at God! The Supreme Court is in rebellion against God. Our Congress is hardened against God. Our Bureaucracy could care less about God. Our educational system has banned God."
That’s a terrible indictment against our nation… but it is none the less true and the description he gives of our moral status is worse than many of the nations God condemned in the Old Testament.