The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

I don't even want to pretend like I know about military life, or the sacrifice soldiers make for us. All I know is I wouldn't want to do it. I'd probably try to dodge the draft. So from that perspective, I have a great deal of respect for those in the military, even though some are just in there because that was the last place for them to turn. That's the only way I would go.

Some people feel a sense of duty for their country, for their nation. Without the military, without God's instruments of wrath and justice, we would not have the freedom we now enjoy. What 9/11 reminds me of, much like the tornado that ravaged my hometown, is the fact that it is ultimately God's grace, and not man, that keeps us safe. That's not an attempt to undermine the military; I am not trying to say that they aren't a grace of God to us- they are. My point is simply that, no matter how much we try to protect ourselves, the only thing keeping us from total destruction is the grace and mercy of God.

9/11 brings to mind Luke 13:1-5. Read those verses, and you will see that the towers could have just as easily, and justly, fallen on our own heads. It's simply what we deserve- death. The death we deserve however, should come at the hands of God, not the hands of other sinful men. That's why it was just for us to go to war, to fight to protect ourselves, to promote justice.

It is no wonder that God uses tragedies to draw people to Him. Such events remind us that if God wills, we die. Deep down, people aren't sure they are going to make it into heaven. However, in America, death doesn't seem to be right around the corner- most of us have  a nice home, all the food we need, clothes, etc. So when the World Trade Center collapses, we go bonkers. How could that happen in America, we exclaim.

Why couldn't it happen here? Why couldn't it happen again? Why couldn't it happen again today? If we look at things realistically, the chances of us dying is absolute. The chances of us dying sooner rather than later is pretty high as well. Sickness, disease, car accident, natural disaster, terrorist attack, there are so many things that can, and eventually will, go wrong for us. Something is going to get us. So why do we forget the reality of death just because a natural disaster or terrorist attack doesn't happen here everyday? Because they do happen somewhere everyday, taking someone's life. How do you know today isn't going to be your day to go?

My goal is not to scare you for the sake of scaring you. I am not trying to paint an overly grim picture. I am trying to paint the grim picture that is the reality of this sinful, fallen world. Man is wicked, God is holy, and that's our problem. Our wickedness either causes us to cast God as not so holy, or not so good because He is holy. Both are panaceas that just won't work. All they do, in the end, is demonstrate just how sinful we really are, and how just God is in allowing towers to fall on us.

Don't run from God when disaster strikes, when death strikes. Run to God when disaster comes, knowing that is God who is causing the disaster and destruction, and justly so. Trust in Christ as Lord and Savior, He is the only tower of refuge. He lived a sinless life, fulfilling the requirement of righteousness that we miserably fall short of. He died the death of crucifixion, bearing the guilt of sin, the wrath of God against sin, for all the sinners who turn to the work of Christ on the cross for their salvation. You can be forgiven of your sins if you are united to Christ. Faith unites us to Christ, what He did on the cross, paying for sin, and what He did in His life, living sinlessly, fulfilling God's demands of righteousness.

And when you are covered in the blood of Christ, when you have been broken over your sinfulness, when your eyes have been opened and your heart has been changed so that you now love God and His holiness and hate sin and your wickedness, you can look at 9/11 and say it is still less than what we truly deserve. You can say that you deserved that death. Yet, God has given you grace. God has given you Jesus to die in your place. There is no fear in death, for Christ has defeated sin and death, and thus hell, by suffering it on our behalf. Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting. He is risen from the dead. Therefore, united to Christ, I have new resurrection life. The towers cannot kill me, even if they kill me. I will rise again, with glorified bodies, in the presence of the Lord, and will enjoy His presence forever.

The alternative is to die apart from Christ, in your sins. That leads to eternal suffering in hell, where the towers always fall on us, and all those around us, yet death never comes. We were made by God, to glorify God, and in our glorifying God, to find our deepest and truest and greatest degree of satisfaction, joy, and happiness. In hell, we are cut off from all that brings joy and gladness, namely Christ, and we are left with our sinful selves.

It is my prayer that 9/11 will be a grim reminder of the grim reality of this sinful, fallen world. I pray that those who are saved would again be reminded of God's grace to them, and that they would share the love and grace of God with their unbelieving friends and family. For those who are not saved reading this, you need to trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior, so that you can be born again, have a change of heart so that you can now love God and His righteousness, and hate sin and your wickedness, and as a result find true happiness and joy, and avoid the punishment of hell that you deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Thomas. Jesus didn't flinch to speak of the tragedy of the tower that brought death in his day, nor did he flinch to explain what it really meant.

    Those who are families of victims of 9/11 may think this is insensitive, but it isn't. Tragedy, terrorism, tidal waves, and the like are what we deserve as a wicked race in rebellion against the almighty holy God. It comes to fulfill God's purposes. In it there is the grace of God in Christ through whom we can flee from the great wrath to come (1 Thess 1:10) and that is ultimately, I think, what the tragedy of 9/11 points us to. America got real 'religious' for awhile after 9/11 but without the knowledge of the gospel. Maybe after ten years pastors, evangelists, and bloggers will reflect on it from that perspective; maybe it will bring the good news of the gospel to some in a way that it becomes meaningful.