Where was God on September 11, 2001?
Hebrews 13:8 is clear that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." On September 11, 2001, God did not disappear and He was not caught by surprise. So why didn't God intervene to stop the tragedies of that day?
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We must first admit that we do not know and cannot fully understand the reasons for tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks. Isaiah 55:9 declares, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." God is unlimited in knowledge and His plan involves wisdom far beyond our ability to comprehend. Those who make statements regarding why God permits a certain evil action to take place must not assume to know more than God has revealed.
Even so, God does provide some insight in Scripture regarding the bad things that take place in our lives. The sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden resulted in a fallen world in which sin is rampant and death eventually befalls every human. Sadly, we often suffer the consequences not only of our sins but also of the misdeeds of others. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can a person receive forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7), salvation (Ephesian 2:8-9), and eternal life (John 10:10). There are blessings in this life to salvation in Christ, but Christians are not immune to tragedy (John 16:33).
We must also recognize that God did intervene in many positive ways on 9/11. For example, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was allegedly targeting the White House. Those who valiantly fought to stop this from taking place saved many lives. Many more individuals could have also died in New York and Washington if it had not been for the heroic efforts of countless volunteers and first responders. In addition, the increased focus on security since 9/11 has certainly stopped some further deadly attacks from taking place. While the full impact of such actions is difficult to measure, the lives saved have been many.
Not only were physical lives spared that day, God often uses tragedy to turn the hearts of people to Him—to save them spiritually. For example, after the attacks on 9/11, many people came to faith in Jesus Christ; and many Christians began to live out their faith more seriously. Countless lives were changed for eternity in the aftermath of 9/11, a celebration that is often overlooked.
While the horrific actions and numerous losses of life on 9/11 were a monumental devastation for many and should not be overlooked or belittled, this day was not without hope. God was at work even in the midst of tragedy, saving lives both physically and spiritually, while working His eternal plan in ways we will only fully understand in heaven.
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