2001-09-20 - Blessed be the Name
Job 1:20-22 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD." 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. (NKJV)
America has been shocked and shaken to the core. The World Trade Center towers at one time were the tallest buildings in the world. A little more than a week ago those two buildings and almost six thousand lives were lost. The bodies of some of those killed may never be recovered from under the hundreds of thousands of tons of debris. The act that destroyed the buildings, the lives and all they represent was deliberate and obviously unexpected.
In the initial hours, there was shock and anger - even rage at those who had performed this crime against the citizens of this nation and the world. That anger still simmers today in the form of grief, anguish and a desire to strike back and see justice severed. I personally have friends that work in these buildings. By the grace of God, none of them were in the building at the time of the attack or they got out before it collapsed. There were some uncertain hours, but I have not suffered the loss that many have. But people from all over the world were trapped in the buildings when they came crashing down. Others from America, Japan, China, England and many other nations have lost spouses, friends, children and loved ones.
Job has just been presented with his own personal version of what our nation has suffered. His flocks, servants and even his children have been taken from him by unexpected events that range from attacks by enemies to wind storms. The hand of God is evident in the wind and perhaps this gives Job some perspective that is not quite so evident in the World Trade Center attack. But the fact of the matter is this: God is in control of the events of mankind. There is nothing that happens that He does not permit.
I can not explain the deaths of 5,700 people any more than I can explain the deaths and theft of Job's children and his property. In the end, Job was blessed with double of his previous holdings - except for his wife. America has been pulled together by this tragedy in a way that I have not seen since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins took the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon and back. As the rubble is cleared, the dead, wounded and financial losses are counted, donations of blood, money, clothing, equipment, food and personal time have come in a flood from all over.
We should not allow the spector of this awful moment in history overshadow the silver lining of compassion and giving that has been poured out like a medicine on a wound. God is not to blame for this attack. Those who have planned and executed this atrocity may indeed stand before the courts of men, but will surely stand before the Father and answer for it. All of us will likewise stand before either the Father, or the Son and answer for our actions - some for eternity and some for their rewards. I hope and pray that we will not seek our satisfaction in vengeance or justice. I am not saying that we should not pursue the men who planned the murder of so many. There is a spirit of openness and giving during the greiving and sharing.
God give us the wisdom to share the gospel with those who will hear it. Guide us to pray for men and women who have been given a fresh look at their mortality. Give us a fresh vision of the fragility and brevity of life. Amen.