The wilting sadness of the World Trade Center tragedy—the dead bodies in the dust, the people jumping out of windows, the angst of the traumatized, the weary searching, the yearning eyes of family members, the apparent senselessness of it all—leave disturbing imprints on our American soul. What are we to do?
First, we should pity all who do not know Christ. We will all die, but not all will die in such a tragic manner. Some who perished are now in heaven. How many were prepared for that we will not know now. But others met this untimely death without preparation. I can think of nothing more tragic than that. If we weep, and we certainly must, let us weep for the tragedy in terms of eternity.
Second, we should pray for a revival of genuine Christianity. In my library I have a secular book describing the awful financial failure in 1857 here in our country. It was devastating, and Americans reeled under that blow. However, this depressed state prepared the country for the last great movement of God in the 1858 prayer revival. Some estimate as many as a million people were brought to Christ during a two-year span. Could it be that this “was intended for evil, but God meant it for good”? (see Gen. 50:20)
Third, we should pray for wisdom for our leaders. Christians, of all people, are in a position to petition God for help in what may be a difficult and strenuous military ordeal. Our leaders need God’s perspective. We have access to God through Christ and we should use our access to the highest throne in the universe to pray for them. God forbid that we should fail them in this task.
Fourth, we should comfort. God is the “God of all comfort.” We should offer words and deeds to those who cannot process this grief. Our touch and our words may actually avert bitterness and produce positive good. Compassion is a good word and a better act. Our compassion will teach a future generation not to be cynical, when the media is constantly desensitizing them.
Our perspective on this tragedy will likely be very different than our friends and associates. We believe God controls the world to the good end of glorifying Himself. We believe God sends important messages through disaster. But these ends are not understood or appreciated in our biblically illiterate day. Let’s first of all offer our love and concern, then, as our friends are able to process it, we will be able to speak of the sovereignty of God over all the nations of the world toward a purposeful end.