Soon after the tragedy of 9/11, I received a letter from a friend in California. He begins: “I’m baffled . . . I just don’t understand it. Two massive 110 story buildings exploded and collapsed. It was unbelievable; hundreds, thousands of frantic people running for their lives. The horrid thought of the mass trapped within the smoldering remains . . .the heart wrenching display of anguish, of chest heaving, words faltering, tears flowing, innocent people destroyed, both in the aircrafts and on the ground.”
“How could people be so calloused, so hardened, so unfeeling to institute such mass destruction on the innocent? There is no human reason, no sensible explanation. The questions abound and the answers so scarce . . . so obscure. I think, ponder and pray, but nothing. Please write me, Jack. I love you”.
Your letter arrived, but I can offer no solution to your questions. Moses said, “The secret things belong to the Lord,” (Deuteronomy 29:29). God is not the author of tragedy but His word does offer some suggestions.
Isaiah wrote, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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” (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is then that I realize that I need not fear the darkness, the uncertainties, or the unknown. It is none of my business or concern, as long as I place my total trust in Him.
James has an encouraging word. “You must consider it purest joy when you are involved in various trials (tragedies). You surely know that what is genuine in your faith produces the patient mind that endures. You must let your endurance come to its perfect (complete) product, so that you may be fully developed and perfectly equipped without any defeats” (James 1:2-4; (Williams translation)).
The Apostle Peter, who, according to legend, was crucified (martyred), requesting that that he be hung head-downward. He said he was not worthy to die like his master. “Wherein we greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold trials (temptations). That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6-8).
This awareness, this knowledge that some things are known only to Him, helps me in all spheres of life. When unprovoked struggles, temptations or tragic events invade my life, my marriage, my family, my health, my finances, my role in the job market, my emotional conflicts, MY FINAL UNDERSTANDING SIMPLY SAYS, THERE ARE THINGS KNOWN ONLY TO HIM.”
“By the way, whatever happened to Hitler? Love you, Jack