Yesterday was a hard day for many as America remembered the 9-11 tragedy. We have heard the many stories of how God used that tragedy for good from the mouth of the survivors and their families. We understand that evil does not emanate from God or he could not be God, and we also see God’s work more clear through tragedy when the contrast between good and evil is most evident.
I take this thought to September 12 2011 which is the 19th anniversary of my Dad’s death. Not even a year before this incident my grandfather who had a big hand in raising me had also passed away. Ironically I am 38 which means I have lived half of my life, and basically all of my adult life, with no earthly father figure providing guidance and answering questions.
These last 19 years began with a new introduction to a heavenly father, alone on my bunk bed thousands of miles away from anyone I knew. Since that time I have been on a journey to understand and know Him as best as I possibly can and He, both through his own words and working through many other men that I am grateful to for their writings and discussions, have kept me grounded in knowledge and faith.
However I can’t forget how the journey started, through the untimely death of the two men I relied on up to that point for most things. Something that I now look back on and know was necessary to get me started down the path I have been on for half of my life.
It hasn’t just been me either, and of course this isn’t all about me. This is about God and how He works, something that is hard for us to see until we look back and reflect on our lives and the lives of others. Something that many people across America have done over the course of the last 2 days. To all of us who are thinking about lost loved ones today I say to you the same thing that Joshua said to his family when they found him in Egypt after selling him into slavery, they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.
Bad things happen to innocent people because the world is fallen and evil exists. The Bible says that God allowed evil to exist as a result of creating finite beings capable of love and doing good, but also capable of hate and doing bad. How can one know love if hate is not available, or as C.S. Lewis said, a man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of what a straight line is. Therefore a world with life and love is a world with death and hate and the two are inextricably tied together. “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you will find that you have excluded life itself” – C.S. Lewis.
God is the greatest thing we can think of, so he is omniscient and knew all of this, he is omnipotent so he could create all of this, and He chose to do so even though knowing that evil and death would come of it because being omnipotent does not mean anything can be done, but that anything possible can be done. So the question isn’t why does evil exist, but why do any of us exist at all. Nobody knows the answer to that question of why God created at all, but I am positive that all of us that are alive are glad he did even through our tragedy of death and suffering.
Through all of this we know that the death and suffering of those we love never goes in vain, but is worked out to the good of the God who created the world. I am thankful for the time that my father and grandfather had with us, and the impact they had on the lives around them including my own. I am also thankful for all of the stories of courage, love, and grace that have come out this week as a result of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11. How appropriate it is for the Christian faith to show us life through the death of Christ.