As we remember the horrific events that took place in New York City 13-years ago, there are so many theological questions one could address: evil, loss, suffering, martyrs, religious tolerance, or even modern-day crusades. We often wonder how to make sense of events like these. We remember those who were lost: in the towers, or the planes in Washington and Pennsylvania.
People often wonder why God would allow such tragic loss of life: not just one life, but over 3,000. Why would people on the other side of the globe rejoice in this violence while families and nations suffer? At many levels, we really don’t fully understand or comprehend God’s wisdom. Providentially, of course, God could intervene. But, He allows us to have free will. All of us who have free will have chosen to sin at some point. Many have decided to live a life of evil with no intention of trying to live a life in Christ, or even conscience of the heart.
God created us for good, not evil. He is not the author of evil. But, we read in the Old Testament that God did use acts of evil for the benefit of humanity. It was a learning opportunity for His people. A prime example would be Nebuchadnezzar, persecutor of the chosen people. He allowed his people to be subject to slavery for many years. So, we can ask ourselves individually, as well as collective church community, what can we learn from tragedy and suffering? We must realize that true happiness is life in Christ. Sin is evil. We do not live in a vacuum–sins we commit affect humanity. “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
We must join in prayer for salvation of all. We must turn away from evil and toward God. We must not condone evil or those who teach it (Romans 1). Let us pray for those whom we have lost to great tragedy, including the martyrs of the church who we remember daily.
The photo for this post is of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was lost when the towers fell atop the Church. As today is the feast of the elevation of the Holy Cross, let us also pray for the elevation of the cross atop a renovated St. Nicholas Church.