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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Post 911

I was going through some files today and came across a devotion that I gave after 911.
I still remember the feelings of shock and horror that beautiful day in September (2001) (much like it is today in Chicago).
My assignment was to stand up the next Sunday morning and provide words of comfort and encouragement.
Here are some of the bullet points of what I said that day:
Some may ask:  "Why didn't God stop this?  Where was God in all of this?"
The Bible teaches us that this is not a perfect world.  We live in a world where people, because of bad, evil choices and sin do wrong things (and bad things to happen to good people).
There are two mistakes that we make when a disaster like this happens:
We think that all good things that happen to me prove that I am good.
We think that all bad things that happen to me prove that I am bad.
But that is incorrect.
Ecclesiastes 8:14 states, "Sometimes something useless happens on earth.  Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people."
Sometimes we face problems in life that are our own fault (I can be my own worst enemy).
We do reap what we sow.
But sometimes we suffer because of what other people do to us.
Could God have stopped those terrorists?  Yes, but He chose not to for this reason:
God has given  you and I the ability to make free choices.  It is the greatest blessing in our lives but it can also be the greatest curse. 
And when people choose to do wrong, innocent people suffer.
Not everything that happens to us is God's will.  For example, God's will is that everyone should repent (2 Peter 3:4).  But does everyone repent?  No.
What happened this week (the week of 911) was not God's will.  God is grieving also.  God's will is not always done.
So - where is God in all of this?
Well, (and this is true today in 2015) God is there all the time.  God is just waiting upon you and I to call upon Him.  God does care.  God is concerned.
One of my favorite verses is Psalms 50:15, "And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me."
So what can you and I do in the midst of our grief?
We must reveal our feelings.
We must allow ourselves to walk through:
Denial:  "This can't be happening."
Anger:  "Why did this happen and what are we doing about it?"
Bargaining:  "God if you do this we will do this."
Depression:  "Lord, this is scary and we are fearful."
Acceptance:  "Father, I accept the reality of what happened."
We must feel free to grieve. 
Jesus said in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Life isn't always happy, happy, happy.  It is okay to cry and show emotion.
Closing thoughts:
Accept what cannot be change.  Walk in faith.  Faith is facing the facts of life and not being discouraged.  It is not pretending everything is great.  Everything is not great.  But it is trusting in God.  I don't know why things happen as they do - but I do know God - and God can be trusted.
Job said, "Reach out to God, then face the world again firm and courageous."  Job 21:25
Focus on what's left - not on what's lost. 
This is huge.  Focus on what's left and not on what's lost.
Can you lose a home, career, marriage, your health, a loved one?
But can you lose God?  NO!
Paul said it like this (2 Timothy 1:12):  "I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." 
Receive help and prayers from others.
We really do need each other.
Receive help from God.
Paul said in Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
Remember 911?  I do - and let's keep on applying the principles that we learned the week after to our everyday lives in 2015 - and be encouraged and comforted today my friends.
Just a thought for a Thursday.

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