Are You Ready? (written September 11th)
I (Dan) feel that I must express myself on the acts of warfare of 11 September 2001. It took a lot of words--I poured my heart out the night it all happened--so bear with me...
First, our thanks: I am personally overwhelmed by the immediate and massive response by volunteers nationwide--medical, police, and firefighting personnel--search and rescue teams--military forces--those who contributed money--those who have given blood--those who have prayed. We needed you in this hour, and you came through. If you are one of those...or related to one who was lost...thank you, and may God bless you richly.
Indeed, in the coming days, there will be many who serve in other ways. One columnist wrote, "This will not be a matter of great troop movements, of trenches and bombs and massed charges. This will be small teams of inconceivably brave men and women, working in strange places, unknown and unacknowledged." If you are one of those, please know I am praying for you, and our nation depends on you, even though we may never know who you are. Thank you.
The most important thing is to pray, to earnestly ask for God's help. I have been praying that our Lord Jesus Christ will meet all the needs of the hurt and bereaved, and that he will give strength, patience, wisdom, and compassion to those who help them. I pray that he will lead many to put their faith in him, to trust him with their lives, and to be saved. Our Lord also commands us to pray for our enemies, so I have been praying for those involved in these attacks, that they, too, may repent and be saved.
This is a time for reflection on our lives and what we trust in. Do you ask how a good God can allow such things to happen? Realize that all of us have sinned, and it's our sin that brings this kind of pain to the world. Pain and suffering are facts of life that are very, very difficult to understand. The Bible tells us, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1, NIV). That doesn't deny the fact of trouble; rather it tells us God will meet our needs IN trouble. There is hope, though--eternal hope--for those who trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. This life, with all its troubles, is temporary: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV). I urge you to trust in Jesus today as we all go through this tough time.
Know this: I serve as a United States military officer because the United States of America, in my time, has always supported peace, stability, and freedom; we have never started wars; we have only gone into combat to end wars. Surely we have made mistakes as a nation, and as a military institution, but I assure you from my own experience that the intent and purpose of our military is to defend and protect: first, the U.S., and second, the interests of peace and freedom throughout the world. As a Christian, I would leave military service in an instant if I believed that our nation used its military for aggressive or oppressive purposes. My father and grandfather served our country honorably in great wars (WWI and WWII), and I will be honored to serve as part of our nation's response this time.
The Bible tells us there are three institutions God created: the family, the church, and the government. One purpose of government is punishment of those who do wrong. The Bible says, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." (1 Peter 2:13-14) Punishment is not the same as revenge, though. After all, the Bible also says, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." So, we should not lash out in rage, but if we can find out who to punish, we should. Firmly, with conscious intent, and correctly. Not vengefully, but to impose a just consequence for these actions.
Echoing the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor), September 11th, 2001 is also "a date which will live in infamy." In my opinion, only four events in U.S. history are of equal significance: the Revolution of 1776, when enemy forces fought us on our territory against our independence; the War of 1812, when enemy forces took and burned Washington; the Civil War, when secessionists sought to destroy the Union; and the attack on Pearl Harbor, when U.S. territory and people were attacked without provocation. Note that in every case, the U.S. rose to the occasion and defeated its enemy. We will do so again.
Some say these attacks may have been related to our support of Israel. We have stood faithfully with Israel through the years, and I believe it is imperative that we continue to support Israel. The Word of God, in the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans, is clear that the people of Israel are the people of God, and are loved by God: "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.'" I am convinced the United States has been greatly blessed by the Lord in part because of our support of Israel and the cause of the Jews. Let us stay the course, and not let down the people of God.
I have taken an oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic." This is important. During this time, we must sustain and protect our Bill of Rights, our political and religious freedoms, and our democratic way of government. If we give up our freedoms, the terrorists win. If we rebuild, help, love, care, support, fix, defend, protect, and continue to lead the world in the ways of freedom and justice, the terrorists lose, and we win.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, said "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." Turn to the Lord Jesus, repent of your own sins, accept his salvation, and join us in prayer, that our nation's might may indeed be righteous, and that we may show the world the way of love, of truth, of justice, and of peace.
I gave blood. I prayed. I've surrendered my life to Christ. My combat gear is packed, and I'm ready to go whenever I'm called. Are you ready to help in this war against terrorism? Are you ready for your own appointment with death and eternity? Are you ready?
"A great people has been moved to defend a great nation." President George W. Bush, 11 Sep 2001
"When America suffers...we as a Congress and as a nation stand united." Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, 11 Sep 2001