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Why did 9/11 happen? Short answer: because evil exists. Why was it allowed to happen? Only God knows.

On this tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 that last point about God’s providence is more profound than glib.

On that horrific day, jets hijacked by hate-driven men were flown into the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and, because of the heroism of passengers, the Pennsylvania countryside instead of the White House or U. S. Capitol. The cost of that day has been severe. Markets and real estate dropped and trillions have been spent on security, insurance, gasoline, and two lengthy wars. And the greatest cost has, perhaps, been a loss of American confidence and optimism.

Why did God allow this? Or put another way, what should we have learned from this tragedy? One thing is that God is there in the midst of the worst kind of adversity even when it doesn’t seem so—a point I tried to make in a recent article called “What Robinson Crusoe Teaches Us About Adversity.”

God is sovereign, meaning he exercises authority over the world and its issues and events. This doesn't mean he causes or desires everything that happens, because in his providence he allows human choice including evil ones. It does mean that he is not surprised, is never off-balance, and is always governing or restraining the full potential of human sin natures. He also, eventually, brings things together for good—even when and where we cannot see it, even in the wake of tragedy like 9/11.

This last point is difficult for some people to take. Actually, the idea that God knew about and allowed 9/11, let alone could bring good from it, is hard for people to understand or embrace. For some it makes God seem at best uncaring and at worst capricious and nasty.

And I cannot provide a pithy explanation that answers every criticism or doubt. But I can say that God is not only sovereign but characterized also by love, righteousness, and justice. He does not use people, treat human beings like pawns, or play games. He does not kill people for the fun of it. He is good and not evil, and he brings blessings in the working of his will that we cannot anticipate or even necessarily recognize when they come.

So, yes, I believe 9/11 falls within the sovereignty of God. I don’t know all the “Whys,” but in faith I believe God has and will use it for our good and his glory. In this I pray for those who lost loved ones and those otherwise hurt by 9/11. May God be present always in our adversity.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011

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