Charlie's life was stolen from him on September 11.
As humans, it's hard to reconcile where God fits into our losses and pain. We don't see what God sees or know what God knows, and when evil strikes us personally, we are left with lots of unanswered questions. One of the biggies is "where were you God"?
Below is a Frontline Documentary called "Faith and Doubt: God and 9/11." Uncle Bernie and my cousin Sean are both featured, and discuss how the loss of Charlie has impacted their faith.
What I think is profound about Uncle Bernie's statements in the video is that while he doesn't claim to have all the answers, he doesn't blame God or hold God in contempt like others do in this documentary. In his own way, he basically says, God was is in the trenches that day fighting evil right alongside everyone else at ground zero.
As I reflect on Uncle Bernie's statement I think it's a pretty Biblical response.
I heard a story once that goes like this. . .A man loses his son tragically and is in terrible grief. In time, his pain turns into anger. And, in a moment of desperation he cries out to God from the bottom of his tormented soul. . . "God, where were you when my son was dying?? Then, after a long silence, a voice replies back. "The same place I was when my Son was dying."
Uncle Bernie is right. God is fighting evil right along side of us. He's not immune to suffering, death and misery. His own son, according to the Scriptures, was a casualty of the war against evil. Ground zero for Jesus Christ was Calvary.
He too suffered in the hands of terrorists. We have a God who is able to sympathize with our pain, because he has entered it on our behalf, and has been through hell too. God knows what it is like to lose a Son. And, I know that he stands alongside every grieving mother and father who lost a son 10 years ago.
But, Christ did not just passively die in the hands of evil. Through his resurrection, sacrificial love conquered evil once and for all. 9/11 reminds us that evil is real and on some days seems to win the battle. But, the resurrection shouts to us that the war has already been won. The grave is not the end. Evil cannot withstand the relentless, courageous, self-sacrificial love of our God. Evil is shattered and rendered impotent by the cross of Christ.
The God who is in the trenches fighting evil and suffering in the hands of evil, is the same God who rose victoriously and one day is returning to this world to once and for all snuff out any resemblance of evil.