Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
September 16, 2001
The horrible terrorist attack upon America has left everyone scrambling for answers. The unthinkable has happened. What fiends are responsible for this barbarism? How could a loving God allow such a savage thing to happen to innocent people? What good can possibly come out of this tragedy?
Obviously there are no easy answers. There are, however, some certainties that can be reassuring in the aftermath of this national catastrophe.
Foremost among these truths is that this disaster need not shake our confidence in the loving God portrayed by the Bible. God is. God is love. God is like Jesus. And God did allow this monstrous thing to happen. Why? Because He has given all people the freedom to choose good or evil, life or death, love or hate, obedience or disobedience. The terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people deliberately chose to ignore the laws of God.
But their demonic deed has not changed the nature of God. There is a God to whom sorrowing people may turn for comfort. He remains the Balm of Gilead. He is still the Comforter. He is still the One who says, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God" (Isaiah 40:1). He is still the One who came to earth, was born of a virgin, grew up as the Christ, and revealed His plan of salvation for the whole world.
God has not changed. And surely God Himself was in tears Tuesday, even as He must have been on that Good Friday when His own Son was brutally crucified by evil men who, like the terrorists, misused the divine gift of freedom.
Another certainty is that the terrorists were NOT disciples of Jesus Christ. Those who follow the Christ are not perfect, but they know that Christís way is the way of love, not hate. Followers of Christ are taught by the Word of God to value life and to use life to honor and please God. Whoever may have been the mastermind of this fiendish plot, it was not Jesus Christ, nor anyone even remotely under the influence of the Prince of Peace.
It is certain also that the terrorists who used those planes as missiles of destruction met a different God in the instant of their death from the one they expected to meet. Even as they created a hell on earth for the people who were killed, they were themselves ushered into the hell that awaits all those whose names are not written in the Lambís Book of Life. That is not what I think; that is what the Bible says:
"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:).
Certain is it also that there are moral absolutes, and those absolute truths have been made available to the world by God through the Bible, His Book. And it is surely the one Book which should be taught to our children in any institution worthy of the name "school." Perhaps this is a good time to remind ourselves that neither the Supreme Court nor the Constitution of the United States has forbidden the TEACHING of the Bible in our schools. It can be taught. It should be taught. Why it is not continues to bewilder me.
Someone observed this week that the terrorist attack has wounded the widespread concept of moral relativism. Hopefully that is true. Morality is not relative. Right is right and wrong is wrong. And our understanding of right and wrong has its origin in the Holy Bible. Instead of disputing where the Ten Commandments can be displayed, we should be finding new and creative ways to instill them in the hearts and minds of our children.
Some people, in the name of "freedom of religion," object to the teaching of the Christian faith. But what is a certainty is that had the terrorists been persuaded to accept Christ as Savior, they would not have killed thousands of innocent people last Tuesday. So more than ever before Godís people must resolve to obey Godís call to "go into all the world and make disciples of all nations." Surely it is certain that the more we reach lost people with the Good News of the Gospel, the less the danger to the free world.
Another shining truth in this time of darkness and death is that there is a Savior to whom mourning people may turn for hope, help, and healing. He is the One who stands ready to help us give up our trivial disputes and unite in deeds of love and mercy. These are days in which we should allow our differences to melt away as we find ways to unite our lives and resources to alleviate human suffering everywhere. Wisdom suggests that we donate some of the money we had planned to spend on our own pleasure to the victims of Tuesdayís disaster.
If terrorism has brought our nation to its knees, then there is hope, for we shall find no lasting solution except upon our knees. The promises of God are still true. Surely there has never been a better time to remember and be comforted by the promise God gave to Solomon:
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (Second Chronicles 7:14).
In your mercy, Lord, let it be.