Summary: Addresses some of the questions that arise from the tragedy of the 9/11/01 bombings
When I was a kid, I was afraid of a lot of things. Like many kids, one of the scariest times was that moment after my Mom tucked me in, and shut off the light and I lay awake in my bed, waiting for sleep to come. I had some serious concerns. I liked to lay on my stomach and hang my arm over the side of the bed, but I happened to know that there were alligators under my bed – despite the fact that we lived in Massachusetts, an area not really known to have a large alligator population. And I knew that if I fell asleep with my arm hanging over the side, the alligator would bite my arm off in the night. I can remember many times I would start to drift off to sleep only to be jolted awake with the awareness my arm was hanging over the side and I had better pull it back in if I intended to have it intact in the morning. And then, there were the monsters in the closet.
I can still remember when my fears went from the irrational and the impossible to the rational and possible. I could finally convince myself that there were not alligators under my bed. I could even persuade myself to believe there weren’t any monsters in the closet.
But then I realized there really could be a bad man outside (Sorry guys, it was always a bad man). And I knew that even if my Dad looked around outside and told me there were no bad men out there, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be a bad man out there five minutes later.
I remember the feeling of helplessness and terror that brought. Perhaps some of us have felt that same helplessness and terror this week. Our worst fears seem no longer to be irrational fantasies, but all too real possibilities.
If you have young children, or if you work with young children, or even if, like me, you’re really just a big kid yourself, you’ve probably heard of the “Veggie Tales.” The heroes of this Christian video series are Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. The creators of this series have done a great job of retelling biblical stories and communicating biblical truths in ways kids can understand.
One of the videos addressed the subject of fear. After the characters learn about God’s protection, they sing a song called “God is bigger than the boogie man... and He’s watching out for you and me.”
We like to tell that to our kids– because it helps them to go to sleep. But after seeing the horrors we have seen this week, we may find ourselves we lying awake and wondering if we’ve told them the truth. Is God really watching out for you and me? Can we trust Him to protect us? To protect our children? Our families? Our friends?
September 11, 2001 will no doubt go down in our history books as the bloodiest day in America’s history. We watched in horror as our nation’s capital and its most populous city were touched with unspeakable tragedy. With the plane crash in Somerset County, the events were brought even closer to home.
If you’re like me, you’ve been riding a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions this week. This morning I would like to briefly address a few of the questions these events have raised, and incorporate Scripture into that.
The first and most obvious question, perhaps is,
How do we respond to such an unspeakable act of violence?
I think every American is suffering from a huge loss this week
We have lost not just thousands of Americans to this disaster
We have lost a sense of safety & security
We no longer think we are immune from the horrors that we have seen in other nations.
The attack was not just on Washington and NYC, it was on our country, our home
“We” and not just “they” have been invaded by a vicious and ruthless enemy
In every loss, we experience grief
Some of us will that grief more deeply than others, but we are all grieving.
We have probably all experienced stages of grief this week – they are to be expected
Shock & Denial:
“This can’t be happening”
A deep sorrow over the loss of life, the pain and injuries suffered by thousands
As Christians, we don’t feel too badly about having those feelings.
But some of the others confuse us and we’re not sure what to do with them
Like anger and the desire for revenge
All grief includes anger somewhere along the way
And not all of it is like our President described, “a quiet, unyielding anger.”
Sometimes it is a wild, screaming anger