It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since we last woke up to the horrible events that unfolded that one September morning. That day changed us — both as individuals, and as a nation. It still saddens me to think that it takes such tragic events to bring a country together, but the response of our country to Sept. 11, 2001 will always be remembered as one of unity, pride, and love.
Unfortunately, that day also brought questions and confusion. Many of us still look back and ask, “Where was God that morning?” Regardless of backgrounds or faith, many wondered how (and why) so many innocent lives were taken in the name of belief and religion.
I’d be a fool to think that a faith-based column could bring answers or clarity to our biggest questions. It seems as if every year, something breaks on the news that draws our attention to tragedy and loss, leaving us asking the same questions we asked 12 years ago in September.
Faith and beliefs set aside, it’s impossible to deny that our world is a broken one. We live in a world where people fly planes into buildings, open fire in public schools, and detonate bombs during marathons. Marriages are walked away from, lies are told, and innocent lives are taken every day. Some struggle with a lifelong battle against depression, while others decide that taking their own life is the only option. None of us have to go very far to know or experience deep pain or loss.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that experiences confusion and frustration when my questions aren’t always answered. But, is it possible that answers aren’t what we need the most? What if our biggest questions weren’t meant to drive us away from God, but rather create a longing for something that satisfied our deepest desires?
C.S Lewis once said, “If I have a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the explanation is I was made for another world.” Well said, if you ask me.
Scripture is clear that faith and trust in Jesus leads to a life that’s free of pain, tragedy, and loss. Our hope is secure in an eternal life that cannot be shaken by terrorism, school shootings, or cancer. What unfolds on our television sets, in our communities, and overseas is temporary. It has an expiration. We’re simply living a blip on the screen of an epic movie.
Have questions and confused about where God is in the midst of tragedy and pain? Me too. But the God I read about in scripture doesn’t always give us the answers we want. He does, however, give hope beyond what we see in front of us.
On the anniversary of those horrific events that took place 12 years ago, take some time to mourn and remember those who lost their lives. Hug your loved ones, and let them know you’re thankful they’re in your life. Then, consider this: perhaps it’s not answers that we’re looking for — but something (or some PLACE) more.
• Colin Noonan is the director of youth ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church in Ahwatukee. Keep the conversation going with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.