God understands and rules over the terror of this world.
I have a friend, a businessman, who sat in a hotel room in the Midwest watching early news reports of an airliner hitting the World Trade Center in New York City. He knew his adult son was inbound to New York City on an international flight, and he bowed his head and prayed for the God he loved to take care of the son he loved. He raised his head and looked back to the TV in time to see the second airliner hit the World Trade Center's second tower. And he says he could not anticipate, and even now cannot fully explain, his reaction. For when he recognized he may have witnessed the murder of his own son, he was filled with rage. His rage was so real to him that he could imagine the hands that had once held his infant son, around the throat of a terrorist, strangling him with unrelenting force until his eyes bulged with the terror that he himself had caused.
Now you and I know that father was spared the death of his son, because the airliners that hit the World Trade Center were not international flights. But that father still struggles with an inner anguish. He is a dedicated Christian, a man of principle who has sought to live consistently his faith. He struggles with knowing from where, beneath his principles and his regular personality, such rage and hatred came in that moment.
As he's analyzed it, he has recognized it is not just his rage at the terror of one who may have killed his son. He recognizes more and more that in that moment he saw the second airliner hit the second tower of the World Trade Center, he had to come to grips with the fact that the God he calls his Lord had not protected his own son.
How do we deal with that? How do we deal with the reality that there is such awful tragedy, and still say ...
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Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois.