This week, as we remember the tragedy of 13 years ago (September 11, 2001), it is important to reflect on just what it all meant. We all remember where we were on that day, and our lives have been forever changed.
Rev. Billy Graham isn’t in good health these days, even though his mind is still sharp. Watch (above) as Graham on September 14, 2001 gives fantastic words of hope and healing from the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. These words are relevant and wise today.
Here are parts of the transcript, via the Billy Graham Ministry:
Today we say to those who masterminded this cruel plot, and to those who carried it out, that the spirit of this nation will not be defeated by their twisted and diabolical schemes. Some day those responsible will be brought to justice.
But today we come together in this service to confess our need of God. We’ve always needed God from the very beginning of this nation. But today we need Him especially. We’re involved in a new kind of warfare. And we need the help of the Spirit of God.
The Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”(2)
But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking. You may even be angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands these feelings that you may have.
We’ve seen so much that brings tears to our eyes and makes us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.
What are some of the lessons we can learn?
First, we are reminded of the mystery and reality of evil. I have been asked hundreds of times why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I do not know the answer. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and that He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.
The Bible says God is not the Author of evil. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 the Bible talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.”(3)
The lesson of this event is not only about the mystery of iniquity and evil, but, second, it’s a lesson about our need for each other.
What an example New York and Washington have been to the world these past few days! None of us will forget the pictures of our courageous firefighters and police, or the hundreds of people standing patiently in line to donate blood.
A tragedy like this could have torn our country apart, but instead it has united us. So those perpetrators who took this on to tear us apart, it has worked the other way—it has backlashed. We are more united than ever before. I think this was exemplified in a very moving way when the members of our Congress stood shoulder to shoulder and sang, “God Bless America.”
Finally, difficult as it may be for us to see right now, this event can give a message of hope—hope for the present and hope for the future.
Yes, there is hope. There is hope for the present because the stage, I believe, has already been set for a new spirit in our nation.
We desperately need a spiritual renewal in this country, and God has told us in His Word time after time that we need to repent of our sins and return to Him, and He will bless us in a new way.