It feels like the America of the 21st century is more polarized than any other time in history. That’s a hard statement to qualify since I was not around during the Civil War or even the Vietnam War. Political, religious, and even simple moral viewpoints are immediate tension triggers in relationships. Just a month ago I was basically excommunicated from a “Whatsapp” group because I made a political opinion comment amongst friends who I thought could handle disagreement. I was wrong. As a result, many of them left the group and started another one without me.
On September 10, 2001, the political and social climate of the US similarly felt polarized. No need to discuss the various disagreements but I think most can agree the statement is true. But September 11, everything changed – at least for a time. That morning and the months that followed, the entire nation seemed to have an almost surreal unity. We were no longer Democrat or Republican. We were simply American; and America was grieving the loss of 2,977 victims.
Tragedy and grief are some of the only things in life that can break down the walls that we so often build. Perhaps, that is one of the things that we can choose to give thanks for in the midst of such a devastating time. Like most people who went through this time in history, I remember exactly where I was. I remember the shock that I was in. I remember the tears that fell from my eyes for the weeks and months that followed every time I thought of the loss that America experienced. Each time I hear Alan Jackson sing “Where Were You,” I have to fight those tears again.
In studying the worldviews of both Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, we find two completely contrasting perspectives, yet each struggle with the concept of suffering and pain. How can a loving and good God allow such tragedy? This is a difficult topic that believers and non-believers alike have struggled with for centuries. While I don’t have all the answers, I do know that Jesus told his disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless” (John 14:18).
David Wilkerson says, “At times you may feel as the disciples later did: that you’re all alone and God is not at work for you. You see no evidence of His care and Satan lies to you that God’s Spirit has left you for a season.”
James tells us to “count it all joy” when we encounter various trials (James 1:2). It’s difficult to be joyful in the midst of turmoil and destruction. As a believer, when I grieve the events to today, I also choose to praise God for His supernatural comfort and His never-ending love for me. I know He “will never leave me or forsake me” even when enemies rise up against me (Deut. 31:6).
“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:6)
How wonderful it would be if we can all, as one nation, be unified “under God” just as we were on that dreadful day 12 years ago. We are a nation in desperate need of God. Perhaps as we reflect today, we can each cry out to God not only for comfort and strength, but also for our nation. Pray for direction for our government. Pray for a humility to once again permeate the offices of those who tirelessly lead this great nation. Lastly, pray that we will repent as a nation and turn back to God with a fear of the Lord and a zeal for His will in our lives.