Monday, September 11, 2006

When Trouble Comes...

5 years ago today. I remember that day clearly. I was at work when someone came in the back door and said a plane hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center. At first it was thought to be a freak accident. We didn't know what was happening. At least till the other tower was hit with another jet, and the Pentagon as well. It became all too obvious what was happening. Terrorists had hijacked 4 planes that day. Three hit their targets, and the fourth was downed in a Pennsylvania field when passengers rose up and fought back against the terrorists that took over United Flight 93. It was thought that the terrorists that were stopped on that flight intended to hit either the Capitol Building or the White House in Washington, DC.

That day was a day that trouble came to both Christian and non-Christian alike. The monsters that took over those planes saw no differences in the people they murdered. And the effect was far-reaching. More than 3000 different families were forever changed directly because they lost a loved one in the attack. Many more were affected by the devastation. It didn't matter who they were, what standing they had in the community, or what faith they had. The victims all met the same fate, and the families all were crushed by the same grief.

What am I getting at? Simply, we Christians have the promised Holy Spirit, the Comforter that Jesus himself said he would send to us from the Father. He is sent to comfort us, encourage us, convict us of our sin, to embolden us to preach the Gospel. But, friends, the Spirit of God isn't given to those who don't know Christ. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Rom. 8:9 NIV). To put it bluntly, friends, we have something the world doesn't, God himself indwelling us. We have Jesus Christ himself taking up for us before the Throne of God in heaven, as I talked about this past Friday. That should make us rejoice, yet it should also make us look out to those who don't know the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider this from Matthew's gospel:

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matt. 5:43-45 NASB

I added emphasis to the last part of that passage to bring out something I don't think we pay much attention to. That is that everyone on the face of this planet has to endure hardship. Whether that is the death of an innocent child or victim like on 9-11, devastating natural disasters like the tsunami that killed over 200,000 people in Indonesia, or stresses like financial problems and depression. We all go through stuff. It rains on us all. But when it rains on us Christians, we don't endure it alone! We have a Comforter who will come alongside us and help us through. Literally, that word, comforter, is the Greek word parakletos, which means to come to one's side. When storms churn up our lives, we have One who comes to our aid and gets us through it. Friends, those who don't have Christ don't have this blessing in their lives, but they can. The mere fact that God comforts us should motivate us to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and tell people that there is hope!

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin that said there are two definite things in life: death and taxes. True words indeed, but he should have added one more, spoken centuries before by the Lord Jesus: "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). Friends, we aren't promised tomorrow, or even the next minute. We are, however, promised that trouble will come to us at some time. So won't you take the time to go to someone today and tell them that there is hope for them in Christ? He doesn't promise to take away their pain and hard times, but he will forgive them and help them through this stormy life to an eternity on the other side where the storms will end and the tears will be permanently wiped away!

God bless!


ruthrap said...

on this day of remembering the terror and devastation of that day, you remind us of a greater hope, because of a Savior who came and died and offered us what He eternal life in heaven with Him and our heavenly Father........the greatest gift ever! All for us that believe in Him and His promise! I will never forget that day, as I am sure anyone won't that witnessed it and the sorrow of those families will never be realized by those who just saw.......God bless them and comfort them today and always!

Christa said...

Great post! I printed it out to help a new convert that is struggling with christianity. She's already saying that life before God seemed so much easier... this message will help!

This anniversary, for me comes along with another one. My brother, two days before sept 11 was in a bad accident that rendred him paralyzed. That was a Sunday morning. We left on Monday to drive the 29 hour trip back to Calgary to be with him. We crossed the border at 1158 pm that night. We were in the middle of saskatchewan when we heard the radio reports of what was going on. I don't think I felt anything at that moment I was already numb with shock from my brother's situation... then this news.

Troy had told me this morning that those two incidences in a row really brought to light the type of spiritual war we are in. You need to be ready because anything.. literally anything can happen.

michigan preacher said...

Wow! Praise God! I am glad to know that my writing is be used to help others out outside of the blogosphere.

I am sorry to hear of your brother's accident. How is he doing now 5 years later?

I pray that all is going well for you and Troy. God bless!

Christa said...

Nick owns his own business.. dating one of his nurses.. still a quadrapalegic, but we are praying for a full recovery someday. We know it's in God's timing.

God used the accident to bring him back full circle to God. Actually God spared Nick because of the break in his neck he should have died. Nick was running from God in every sense of the word. He hit a semi trailer.. the front wheel I believe.

There have been a lot of positives that it brought that we are all greatful for.

I think the person having the hardest time with the accident 5 years later is my mom. She doesn't let go of the negative very easy. She cried on the anniversary of his accident.

I could get into the dynamics of my family but that would take forever and a day lol so just be in prayer for them as you think of the situation.

Nick had said one time that he knows God spared him from a much worse fate. And he knows that he knows it is very rare to have that close of a brush with second death. The intersting thing is he wasin a motorcycle accident 2 - 3 week sprior to the one that paralyzed him. He knew in his spirit then that God was tryign to get his attention. He figured he cheated death then so he had some time.

big lesson to learn the hard way we never know the hour or the minute that our life will end or when Jesus will return. Eith way we all need to be ready to meet our maker.