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Summary: Sermon preached on the first anniversary of 9/11 attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon

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September 11, 2002

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4.39 (KJV)

Peace? Be still? The storm on the waters of that day may have listened to Jesus’ command. My heart hasn’t listened since September 11th of last year.

Truth be known, I have dreaded this day. As the media have barraged us with the impending memorials and commemorations over the last month, I have wanted to be quiet. I have felt the storm surge rise within me. All the submerged feelings of grief and loss have come to the surface:

Anger surfaced as I watch the television broadcasts

Fear surfaced as I remember we live in a different world

Frustration overwhelms because of unanswered hope

There is a story in one of Elie Wiesel’s books of a man, a crazy little Jewish man. He lived in Europe during the Second World War. When the Nazis invaded he went into hiding in his little town. When it was safe to come out he runs to the local synagogue, looks upward and shouts, “You see, God. We are still here!” Throughout the occupation and holocaust sufferings this crazy little Jewish man is in hiding, emerging periodically to shout to God, “You see, we are still here.”

Finally, the man finds himself alone – the last surviving Jew in his little village. He enters the synagogue, looks up at the ceiling and whispers, “You see, God, I’m still here.” And then he adds, “But, you, God, where are You?”

The question we have is not much different…

Why, Lord…and Where Were You, anyway?

The answer, our answer, is not the kind that takes the sting away from tragedy and loss. Our answer is almost as perplexing as the evil deed.

Where was God last September 11th?

God was in the same place He was when Job got clobbered. Job would have made a wonderful capitalist American citizen. He was God-fearing, rich, respected and well-loved in his community.

All the Baptist churches would have put Job on the Deacon and Trustee boards. He was also Satan’s target. And God, sitting on the sovereign throne of eternity, watched:

...as marauding Sabeans captured Job’s servants and possessions.

...as a lightning bolt took out his herds of sheep and shepherds

...as the Chaldeans killed his servants and stole his camels

...and as Job’s sons and daughters and their families were having a family meal together, and a twister demolished the house killing all of them.

God was in heaven watching.

Where was God last September 11th?

God was in the same place He was when His own son:

hung on the cross,

died,

was taken down and buried in a borrowed grave.

God was in heaven watching.

Last September 11th, God was in heaven watching.

Sooner or later tragedy brings us back to Ground Zero. And God is watching. And we always ask, Why? And the answer is always the same.

God answered Job, Trust me.

God answered Elijah, I have my remnant.

God answered Paul, My grace is sufficient.

And God answered Jesus on the cross, when he uttered those awful words, My God, my God…why has thou forsaken me? He answered with sovereign silence.

None of us knows why God allows some things and prevents others. We know He is God, and we trust Him because His ways and thoughts are higher. Our trust is found in being His children.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, To them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8.28 (KJV)

Christine Wilson was painting the kitchen in her new home. She was also upset. She had accidentally stepped in the bucket of bright “Country Orange” paint. She had no other shoes or socks, with her, so she had to go pick up her four children from the sitter in “wreck” condition. The children were napping, so the sitter suggested she do a little shopping and pick them up later. A mother of four young children will jump on an offer like that!

Christine made a beeline for the local house wares section of the department store. There she found that all things do work together for good – she was able to perfectly match the new kitchen dish cloths and towels to her “Country Orange toe”.

September 11, 2001 was worse than stepping in a bucket of orange paint. The cross outside of Jerusalem – a place called Golgotha was worse, infinitely worse than the loss of a year ago.

In the case of the cross, that “orange toe” proved out to be our salvation, and God’s free offer of eternal life. Surely the God of the resurrection can use the bucket of Ground Zero to birth something of eternal value in our lives. May each of us open our hearts to let Him do so!

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