Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 and the Meaning of the Cross

The call came at about 5:55 am (pacific) and when I answered the phone, the voice at the other end was my best friend telling me to turn on the TV. Since I never got up before 7:30, I could barely comprehend what time it was let alone what she was saying.

So, I begrudgingly trudged into my living room, turned on my television, and sat in stunned silence looking at the billowing smoke coming out of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Eight minutes later, I watched as another plane crashed into the South Tower of the WTC, and that's when I knew that the United States of America was under attack. Still sitting there in stunned silence, I called my mom and told her to turn on the TV. Since my parents never watched TV in the morning, I knew they would have no idea what was happening. In turn, she called my Dad and told him to turn on the TV in his office.

The next call I made was to my boss. I woke him up, and he was about to start yelling at me until I told him what was happening and that he needed to go turn on his TV. I also called my assistant and told him the same thing. Though he was young and ticked off that I woke him up, I knew that this moment in history was too important for him to miss.

Like the rest of the nation, I sat glued to my TV for the next three hours, watching in horror as a third plane crashed into the Pentagon and both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed upon themselves.

It wasn't until a few years later when I learned that one of my high school classmates was in the Pentagon when it was hit. To this day, I am still glad that it was he, himself, who was able to tell me the story of how he and some of his colleagues had to climb out of the building -- instead of reading his obituary in my high school's alumnus magazine.

When I turned on the TV this morning and watched the news coverage of the events that took place on this fateful day twelve years ago, my eyes once again filled with tears. It seems like only yesterday when those phone calls with my best friend and my mom took place, and the world as we knew it changed forever.

But it wasn't until today, while I was looking through images of 9/11 on Google and saw this photo of a cross, that my thinking about this event really began to be challenged . . . Namely in relationship to what Christ's death on the Cross should mean to those of us who declare ourselves to be His followers.

Now, I realize that what I am going to say next may really anger a few people. And, please believe me when I say that I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone, in any way, shape or form, when it comes to the loss of life (and friends and family) that was suffered on 9/11. I have friends who lost loved ones on that day and it was, and is, a tragedy that will stay with each of us until the end of our lives.

However, as I was watching the news this morning and thinking about the photo above, it struck me how much we, as a nation, grieve for the loss of life that took place on 9/11, yet, at the same time, how little we, who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, truly grieve for Christ's death on the Cross due to the nature of sin in our own lives.

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God ...
There is no fear of God before their eyes.
~ Romans 3:10-11, 18

Scripture clearly tells us that NONE of us are righteous! We neither seek after God, nor do we fear Him. Instead, we fear man and what he can do to us. Instead of the righteousness of God, we fear another terrorist attack. 

Which got me to thinking . . .  

Why is it that when we contemplate the meaning of the Cross, we do not get tears in our eyes the same we do when we think about the loss of life suffered on 9/11?

Have you ever  wondered what our lives would look like if we were to grieve our sin, and Christ's resulting death on the Cross, just as we grieve for those who lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001?


In the same way that September 11th will forever be a single date on which we remember those who lost their lives as a result of multiple terrorist attacks on the USA, I pray that the Cross will forever serve as a daily reminder that:

[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, 
So that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Spiritual Depression - Men as Trees, Walking

 As I continue to struggle with my health, I have spent some time reading the book Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Here are some of the things that gave me cause for thought today, in the chapter entitled Men as Trees, Walking . . .

~ The most comfortable type of religion is always a vague religion, nebulous and uncertain, cluttered up with forms and ritual ... The more vague and indefinite your religion, the more comfortable it is. There is nothing so uncomfortable as clear-cut Biblical truths that demand decisions.

~ If only we came to the Scriptures as little children and took them at their face value and allowed them to speak to us ...

~ This is God's Word which is timeless, and because it is God's Word we must submit to it and trust Him to employ His own methods in His own way.

~ There is nothing that so clears a man's spiritual sight as the apprehension and understanding of the doctrines of the Bible.

~ Come to the Word of God. Stop asking questions. Start with the promises in their right order. Say: 'I want the truth whatever it costs me'. Bind yourself to it, submit yourself to it, come in utter submission as a little child and plead with Him to give you clear sight, perfect vision, and to make you whole.

~ Do you believe that the Son of God came from heaven and lived and did all He did on earth, that He died on a Cross and was buried and rose again, that He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, in order to leave us in a state of confusion? It is impossible. He came that we might see clearly, that we might know God. He came to give eternal life and 'This is eternal life, that they may know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent'.

Honestly, I'm a bit surprised by how easy it is for me to struggle with depression when going through a trial like illness. Fortunately, I am not the first person to go through this kind of trial and I will not be the last person to do so. And, no matter what your own trial may be at the present moment, neither are you!


Why? Because trials and tribulations are part of the Believer's life . . .

Why? Because this world is not our home; we are only Sojourners here . . .

Why? Because both you and I have the ability to take to take God at His word, and if we choose to do so here is what He promises . . .

If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
If we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.
-- 2 Timothy 2:12-13

O Holy, Heavenly Father, help us to truly remember that this world is not our home. Help us to remember that You promise we will have trials on this earth. Help us to encourage and to be encouraged. Help us to love You more; that we may prove worthy of the calling You have placed on each of our lives. And most importantly of all, help us to remember that a life spent with YOU is the ultimate prize!