On the sunny morning of 11 September 2001, terrorists hijacked four jetliners in flight. Two of the planes were flown at full speed into the 110-storey twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The buildings burst into flames and then collapsed to ground level. As many as 200 people jumped from the towers. They preferred to die this way instead of in the flames. A third plane was smashed into the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. military. A fourth plane was flown into the ground when passengers overwhelmed the hijackers. In total about 3000 people were killed. These were tragic events. Most people would say: “I don’t want to die like that.”
People sometimes ask: How could God let something like this happen? We should be careful not just to say that it is punishment from God, or that God allowed it. We live in an imperfect world. God allows us to make our own choices and many people suffer because of bad choices made by others.
There are volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, gale force winds, etc. These are part of nature. There are also devastating fires. Many people die or are maimed in these disasters. This doesn’t happen necessarily because God wanted to punish these people specifically.
Maybe we can learn from such events that we never know when our lives will end. We may start a day looking forward to all the things we have planned, and before the end of the day we may be dead. That is what happened to so many people that fatal day in 2001. There are so many sudden deaths: people drown in devastating tidal waves, people die in accidents and of heart attacks. It is important to realise that people who know God as their Father, can be sure that He is always with them, even in death, and that they can experience his wonderful presence. The most important question we should ask ourselves is: Am I ready to die? God talks to us in many ways; we just cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. “If you hear God’s voice today, do not be stubborn (Heb. 3:15). The LORD says, “Now, let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool (Is. 1:18). Be in earnest, then, and turn from your sins. Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me (Rev. 3:20).
As a fatally wounded soldier was dying he whispered: “If only I could pray, but I can’t. Is there no one who can pray for me?” A 16 year old boy saw the dying man and heard what he was saying. Afterwards the boy went to Wilhelm Busch and asked his help, because he wanted to accept Jesus as his Redeemer. He told the minister about the dying man and said that since that day, he wanted to become a child of God. He added: “I don’t want to die like that.”
Dear Lord, help me to pray: I now give myself, my life and my heart unconditionally to You. Amen