During the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., there have been numerous questions asked about this great tragedy. Of all the many questions posed, perhaps the most significant one is: Why would God permit such an evil, horrendous act that took the lives of thousands of innocent people to be committed against our nation?
An initial response to this question would have to include the fact that God hasn’t provided us with any revelation concerning this specific incident. Also, when puzzling over the mysterious governing hand of God, we are reminded in the book of Isaiah concerning the LORD, “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts . . . ‘” (55:8,9). The apostle Paul adds concerning the lofty ways of God, “How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Rom.11:33)
While the LORD our God has not provided us with a direct answer as to why He allowed such a catastrophic event to strike our nation, still He hasn’t left us completely in the dark. In His infinite love and mercy, He has revealed certain important truths in Holy Scripture which help us to have insight concerning His will and ways.
In God’s many dealings with sinful man down through the centuries of time, His primary interest, concern, and will have been that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). The LORD displayed this loving concern for Israel when during the period of the Judges He repeatedly allowed their neighboring enemies to attack them. The reason for permitting enemies to wreak havoc in Israel’s native land time after time is that the people of Israel were so often guilty of forsaking the LORD by running after false gods and giving themselves over to worldliness of living. God used the attacks to serve as a spiritual wake-up call for them to repent and turn back to Him in faith and love.
A Wake-Up Call?
Has our country been in need of a spiritual wake-up call to national repentance as in the period of the Judges? Consider the national sin of citizens murdering countless numbers of unborn babies through abortion under the sanction of civil law, or the national sin of condoning sexually immoral and perverse ways of living–or, worst of all, the national sin of religious groups across this land not acknowledging the Triune God as the one true God and Jesus Christ as man’s only Savior from sin, death, and the devil.
When speaking of a national call for repentance in America, it is not only the unbelievers who are in need of repentance, but also we Christians as well. We all are in need of humbling ourselves in the sight of God in contrition and repentance, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Listen to the prophet Isaiah as he makes confession to God for the national sins of Israel in his day, “You are indeed angry, for we have sinned–in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You; for You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities” (Is. 64:5-7).
Ever since the attack on our nation, the thoughts of increasing numbers of fellow citizens have been tending upward, using such expressions as “God Bless America.” And yet how many of them know who the true God is, and how many know that God’s ultimate blessing of salvation comes through repentance over sin and faith in Jesus’ gift of forgiveness that He worked out for us on the cross of Calvary?
Along with the many different measures of providing a helping hand after the attack on our nation, as Christians we are called upon by the LORD to help our fellow citizens by following the example of John the Baptist who proclaimed a message of repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ. This message may not always be well received or be popular. But this is the kind of help that everyone needs in our country if America is to be truly blessed by God in the highest form.
With this in mind–May God bless America!
–Pastor Mark Gullerud