Originally written 9/10/10 for the Saturday "Faith and Values" section of our local paper:
One of the precious tenets of the Christian faith is the hope that believers have in Christ, for this life as well as for eternity. No events, not even tragic and life-changing ones, happen without a Christian knowing that he is in the palm of God’s hand.
Several years ago, early one morning, I sat with my dear friend, her family and other friends in a small hospital room as she received final word that her husband had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. As one would expect, the grief expressed in that room was overwhelming. Yet, at the same time, the presence of God’s peace soon became obvious as well. In spite of the shock and the unanswered questions at what had just happened, there was an assurance and a calm spirit in the room. The huge sorrow was not horrific sorrow, due to the presence of a heavenly Father and his grace.
In their hour of need, this family did not have to go looking for the solace offered by a loving savior. They already knew him — in their hearts as well as in their heads. They had lived daily for many years in personal relationships with Jesus Christ, throughout the pleasant times and the hard times of life — so that when this moment came, as well as the difficult months afterward, their sorrow was not the “sorrow of those that have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13).
These thoughts are especially relevant in light of today’s commemoration of the events of nine years ago on this date. How could people cope with the horrible events and tragic results of that day? Those who knew the Lord as personal savior, who walked with him before then, were in a position to sense the hand of God, shielding them, loving them and walking with them through the dark days that followed.
Lisa Beamer, widow of victim Todd Beamer, was one such person. She writes on page 276 of her book, “Let’s Roll”: “The reason I’ve been able to [live in hope] is not because I’m a strong person. I don’t want anyone to go out of here thinking, Wow, she’s so strong; look at her! The reason I’ve chosen to live in hope is because of the heavenly, eternal perspective God has given me. That tells me that fear comes from feeling out of control, and if September 11 has taught us anything it is that we are never really in control … But hope comes from knowing who is in control. Hope comes from knowing that we have a sovereign, loving God who is in control of every event of our lives.”
Jeremiah 29:11 and many other scriptures remind us of his infinite love and power in our lives. The Psalms are full of such reminders. And while Christians are subject to the same griefs, the same fears, the same unknowns as anyone else, we also have the promises of the great God of the universe, who tells us, “I will NEVER leave thee, nor forsake thee!”