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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where was God on September 11, 2001?

After the events of 9/11/2001, many Christians wondered why God would allow such a terrible thing to happen. In comments as a guest on the 700 Club, Reverend Jerry Falwell said: "The pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America," he continued, "I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" Not surprisingly, the host (Reverend Pat Robertson) totally concurred with this perspective. (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics) Likewise, in the most recent issue of The Journal: News of the Churches of God, Brian Harris attributed the events of that day to God's warning to Israel that He would "appoint terror over" them if they failed to obey His commandments (Mr. Harris believes that the people of America are the descendants of Ancient Israel). So we have to ask: Were the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 a manifestation of God's wrath against the United States for its sins?

We are told that King Solomon once observed: "The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy." (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12) In other words, sometimes things just happen.

In a similar vein, the Gospel of Luke records Jesus Christ's reaction to two tragedies that occurred during his lifetime. We read: "About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 'Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?' Jesus asked. 'Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too.'" (Luke 13:1-5) In other words, bad things happen in this life that don't have anything to do with punishment for sins.

Was God punishing the United States for its sins that day or did a few warped men with evil in their hearts get together and perpetrate the attack? Did God withdraw "his" protection that day?

Consider these facts: It has been estimated that 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center every day, and that another 140,000 people visited it every day! (http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/tenants1.html) What if the area of the Pentagon where the plane penetrated the building had not been sparsely occupied because of recent renovations? What if the other plane had not gone down in that field in Pennsylvania and had made it back to the Capital or White House? It is truly staggering to think about the potential loss of life that day. It is an awful tragedy that almost 3,000 people died on 9/11/2001, but take just a moment to consider how many people could have died that day. Was God asleep that day? I don't think so.

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