We are well past this year’s observance of 9/11 but somehow my thoughts for that day didn’t get posted, but got stuck in my “DRAFT” box. So I am sending them again.
A bad day? A tragic day? Certainly those things can be said and are true. Thousands of lives were lost that day. Lives were lost needlessly, but God never allows tragedy to pass without a victory plan for the other side.
I know a young man, like many young men and women the service of their country. He lost his legs in Afghanistan, in the war that has been a result of that fateful day in September. Yet on May 31, ever year since 2012, the anniversary of his “Alive Day”, he celebrates the “tragedy” in his own life. He thanks the perpetrator of such a great evil that forever changed his life. He gives thanks because it reshaped his life, gave him a new perspective, and opportunities he never would have had otherwise. So, he would have to trace back not just four years, but 15 years to fully express his gratitude.
Am I saying we should be thankful for that terrible day? Perhaps I am. It is a day that has reshaped our country of origin and the world forever. It has been an opportunity for the world to see what America is made of and what we are about. Yes, we are an imperfect country, Ungodly influence within our own ranks often saturates our thinking and action. However, America is still, thankfully, a country that believes in freedom, the rights that are inalienable, the equality of mankind, and that there is a divine mandate to protect those rights. We still protect the right to disagree, to verbalize that, and to believe differently. I also believe that this fateful day forced us to provide freedom, an opportunity for democracy, and freedom of thought and practice.
And wherever freedom is provided, the gospel follows. The people of God are ever ready to move into the smallest opening with the news that Jesus loves, Jesus saves, and Jesus transforms.
In the greatest tragedies in history, hope has been born. In the greatest suffering hearts are lifted, ears opened, and people are drawn to God’s provision in Christ. Oh the greatest injustice and tragedy was when a simple teacher was arrested one night with the help of a friend. He was put on trial for simply being who he was. He was beaten almost to the brink of death. He went through six trials, all breaking multiple national and spiritual laws. A sentence of death was pronounced not by the government court, but the court of public opinion in a bloodthirsty mob. He was paraded through the streets of his metropolis like a defeated tyrant, though he had never done wrong to any man or in the sight of God. He hung in the gallows on this day for six hours. He died and was buried
What a tragedy. What a travesty. But Tragedy brought Triumph. That travesty became an opportunity. Injustice provided grace. The merciless acts of some opened the door for the mercy of God. And he who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God. And so, because of the greatest act of evil, the greatest act of love came, so that if anyone be in Christ, he/she is a new creation. The old has passed, all things are made new.
Thank you God. Thank you Jesus, for the cross. Thank you that the cross isn’t the end of the story, because there is an empty tomb. Thank you that when this soul cried out, you heard my cry because of Christ. Oh, I am not comparing America to Jesus, but 9/11/01 was NOT the end of the story. I am grateful today that my country, will all of its faults, still hears the cries of the oppressed, and works to provide freedom. I am grateful for those who sacrifice themselves for others. It is not just a job, it is a calling for millions of military and first responders who do not run FROM the sound of tragedy, they run TO the battle. I am grateful for mission minded believers who leave the comforts of home to run to the lost with the gospel of peace. I am grateful for preachers who mount their pulpits today and proclaim the freedom of Christ for all who believe, all who receive.
Bad day? No Never