Two years ago today, Muslim Arab terrorists attacked America and killed almost 3,000 people. Since that time, we’ve waged two wars, killed thousands, spent billions, and plunged the world in diplomatic crises. We’ve overthrown two oppressive governments and liberated many people. We’ve also created chaos and anarchy in some cases. We’ve tested friendships, exposed false friends, and risked much. We’ve prevented terrorist attacks in many cases, and endured new ones elsewhere. We’ve earned the gratitude of some, and undoubtedly make enemies of others.
Two years ago today, Mason Woodward was born. Since that time, he’s learned to walk, to talk (although he talks so fast it’s sometimes hard to understand), and to walk around the house chanting “ooh-dah!” He loves VeggieTales, and has a dog named Sadie. He will have a great set of play equipment in the backyard when his father finishes putting it together.
Mason’s birth, right after the 9/11 attacks, is a reminder that the darkness cannot overcome the light. In the midst of unspeakable horror and fear, two of my dearest friends experienced the indescribable joy of the birth of their first child. One of God’s great blessings followed on the heels of one of Satan’s attacks.
Some people have claimed absolute certainty about why this happened. Liberals told us it was because America is too rich, too evil. Isolationist paleoconservatives tell us it was because of our interventionist foreign policy. Because we had troops in Saudi Arabia. Because we support Israel. Some prominent Christians claimed it was punishment by God because of abortion, sexual perversion, etc. All agree that it was a call to repentance – they only disagree about which sins we need to repent of.
I’m not nearly so certain. Yes, America is guilty of much sin, and we must repent. But was this an unmistakable call from God to repent? Was it a warning? I don’t know.
I do not understand the ways of God. Aslan is not a tame lion. When I read the Old Testament I am amazed by God’s sovereignty. He raised Pharaoh up, and hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so He could utterly destroy that proud man. God freely manipulated history to serve His ends. He sent Israel to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan to both fulfill His promise to Abraham and to punish the wickedness of those pagans. He raised up and casted down empires according to His purposes.
Could it be that He still does so? Could the heart of the king still be in the hand of the Lord, who turns it wherever He wishes? Does God look at the rulers of nations today and say “for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth”?
I do not understand how God works, but I trust Him and know that He is in control.
To the victims of 9/11 – We remember you and mourn for you.
To the heroes of 9/11 – Thank you. We will never forget you. You forced a plane down over rural Pennsylvania to prevent greater loss. You charged into burning buildings to rescue those inside. Some of you didn’t make it out.
To our soldiers, both of America and our allies, our real friends – Thank you. You are making the world safer for us all.
And to Mason – Happy birthday. You’re a bit of light on an otherwise very dark day.