|September 11. 2007
The 9/11 tragedy brought
sharply into focus the international political environment in which
Compassion Radio now works and serves. People who are aware of the global
focus of our organization have often asked me to comment on the terrorist
attacks against the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Here are a few thoughts
of mine concerning this terrible event as we look back on it today.
First and foremost, we, at Compassion Radio remain profoundly saddened by
the horrific acts that took place in New York City and Washington, D.C. on
September 11, 2001. We grieve for the victims and families of those who have
suffered so greatly as a result of this reprehensible deed. May God bring
comfort, peace and healing to all those who are still in pain today.
Second, I have read, or heard, from several commentators, the following
remark concerning the significance of 9/11: "On that day," they say, "The
world changed." I think I understand what these people are trying to say.
However, in the strictest sense, they are wrong. The world didn't change on
September 11. What changed was that the reality of the world
finally began to penetrate the United States of America.
For many years, Americans (Christians included) operated under the illusion
that we were somehow immune from the harshness that most people in the world
experience on a daily basis.
Consider, for example, that EVERY DAY 25,000 people in the world, the vast
majority being children, die as a result of polluted water. That's 25,000
yesterday, 25,000 today, 25,000 tomorrow ... and on ... and on ... and on
... Every 3 seconds a little child dies.
Every day war, political oppression, fear, violence and intimidation,
homelessness, poverty and hunger stalk the lives of innocent people on
virtually every continent. Every day they experience the reality of an
unredeemed world. Every day for them the goodness of living is hard to see.
On 9/11, through a vicious attack, that reality intruded into our seemingly
So, what GOOD can come out of this evil? Perhaps the answer resides in the
Psalmist's prayer: "So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart
of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)
Stephen Mitchell's expanded rendition puts it like this:
"Teach us how short our time is . . .
show us that all things are transient,
as insubstantial as dreams,
and that after heaven and earth
have vanished, there is only You."
That's a message that urges
us to focus on eternal priorities in a world where material things are
temporary, and where our time is short. Learning that lesson is what it
means to "gain a heart of wisdom".
For the most part, we
Americans have not been wise. We are preoccupied with 'stuff'. We are
absorbed with the pursuit of money and material security. Even ministry
objectives often revolve around 'statistical success'. Comfort and
convenience have robbed us of the will to sacrifice. Adventure in God's
service scares us.
Perhaps, now, having watched
steel crumble and lives evaporate into dust, we'll begin to get serious
about God and His purposes. The primacy of eternal priorities: that's the
essence of wisdom. Maybe the good that will come to us out of this evil will
be that we'll gain a heart of wisdom.
Then, a third and final
comment: Our all-too-natural, but understandable inclination toward revenge
has the potential to undermine the Christ-like spirit that our Lord requires
of us. It can also poison our attitude toward Muslim believers. Brother
Andrew, whom we deeply admire here at Compassion Radio, exhibits the
attitude I believe we should cultivate in ourselves. "When you think of
Islam," he says, "think I Sincerely Love All
Those who profess to follow
Jesus must love all those whom He loves. The Good News is not cancelled by
evil acts. It works for good by the grace of God.
At this time . . . in this
moment, we need the transforming power of God's good news more than ever.
May His love and peace guard
your hearts and minds today.