13 years ago today, I started my day by stopping at QuikTrip on 39th & Bolger in Independence, MO and bought a blueberry muffin and a chocolate milk. When I approached the register, I heard the employees discussing for the first time ever the horrible events taking place that morning in NYC.
I have thought of that devastating morning almost every day since.
We can’t always make sense of our suffering. But I know that like Jacob in Genesis said of all his sufferings, “All these things are working against me!” Yet at the end of the story, his son Joseph says to his brothers, “What you intended for evil, God intended for good to save many people alive today.” One of those who was saved by all the events Jacob thought were working against him was another son, Judah; the one from whom the Messiah would come and save many people alive eternally.
Suffering in this world is guaranteed. Prosperity and health and happiness are not. But we know that there is no such thing as meaningless evil. Even the greatest sin ever committed (the murder of Jesus), which was done willingly by those who carried it out, was ordained by God before the foundation of the world to bring glory to himself and to ransom his own from the clutches of sin.
In the face of suffering, we serve a God who knows, who cares, who loves, and who works all things together for good for those who love him and are the called according to his purpose. I don’t know what God’s purpose has been or will be through the events of 9/11, but I know that he is good.
Do you have a grid for seeing God’s good and loving purposes in men’s evil actions? It’s a tough question, I know. Because we think of acts of evil and God’s sovereignty as utterly and altogether separated—but think of Job’s life. Satan couldn’t touch Job without God’s seal of approval. It was clear however that God had a purpose in the things that happened to Job.
In addition to 9/11, what tragedies and evils have you endured where you have seen God’s sovereign hand at work for good?