A Christian's Response to the WTC Horror
By a fellow member of Dr. Aw's Bible class who is presently living in Boston, USA.
Over the last few days, I’ve been reflecting on what my response as a Christian to the WTC tragedy should be. How do I make sense of what has happened, and what would the Lord want me to say to others, in order to help the process of healing. How do I even begin to comfort those who have been so devastated by Tuesday’s events? A few messages come to mind.
I think many would agree that on Tuesday, we witnessed an example of pure evil. How else could we explain the sheer sadism and twistedness of hijacking four planes carrying innocent passengers and crashing them the way they did into the WTC and Pentagon, killing thousands? Many of us have reacted with deep outrage and anger, and feel that we will never be at peace until justice has been done. On this, I think we are in good company. I am reminded of a passage in Revelation 6:10, where the souls of martyrs who had been slain because of their testimony had cried out, "How long O Lord, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" I imagine that the souls of those who died horrible deaths on Tuesday would cry out in a similar manner. Certainly, the families of the victims, looking at how impotent governments are in dealing with terrorism, must be crying out for justice, and must be deeply frustrated that it appears to be slow in coming. Some of us, who have struggled with reconciling the image of a loving God with the whole notion of Judgement Day and the reality of the eternal fires of hell, may even begin to come around to God’s point of view, and see that there is a need for judgement after all. We feel that the right and proper place for those who have committed such heinous crimes should be in the eternal fires of hell.
Significantly, though, verse 11 of Revelation 6 continues, "Then each of them were given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed." This, to me, is yet another manifestation of God’s incredible patience and love for mankind. It is also a message for us not to take justice into our own hands, and in so doing, add to the spiral of hate and revenge. While God has given his assurance that He will avenge, I think many of us draw almost equal comfort that it is His love that causes Him to stay His hand for now. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." We know all too well how hard it is for many of us to humble ourselves, recognise our own sins, and acknowledge that we need a Saviour. But the warnings are clear too. Judgement will come, just as it did at key turning points in history … the Flood, the destruction of the tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There will come a "tipping point", where God will say enough is enough.
To me, Tuesday’s tragedy was an important wake-up call. The horrific scenes of fire and destruction were surreal, and what we would expect to see in any apocalyptic movie. Many of us still have trouble believing that it actually happened. But it really hits home, in a stark and chilling manner, the things that are really important in life. The need for each and every individual to be at peace with and reconciled to God. The one thing that is more important than our life is our soul. Death can come swiftly, are we prepared to die? Would we have regrets? Have we, in living our lives, accomplished things that have eternal value? If we are suddenly taken from this world, will our loved ones be able to find comfort in knowing that we are with our Lord? Tuesday’s victims would not have died in vain if the horror of the tragedy has compelled us to renew our spiritual journeys. For some of us, it is to begin our own search for God and to seek peace and fellowship with Him. Indeed, to find peace in Him. For others, it is to draw closer to God, and to recommit to living a life that communicates the love and forgiveness of God, to invest in eternity, and in so doing help other pilgrims along the way.
Questions or feedback? Feel free to email me!