EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Look forward to the future, even in the wake of tragedy

2013-09-15T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Look forward to the future, even in the wake of tragedyPaul Appold nwitimes.com
September 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

On Wednesday of this past week, many Americans took time to remember the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. It was truly a heartbreaking day as more than 3,000 lives were taken, and their families continue to grieve their loss. Our prayers continue to go out to the Lord for comfort to all of those families that mourn.

As a pastor, that day was a most unusual one. I had only been a pastor for about two months, and I didn’t know what I was in for. Shortly after 8 a.m., I became aware of the tragedy. And as the day went on, like many Americans, I had that eerie feeling seeing an absence of traffic both on the roads and in the air. But what was most unusual was the number of phone calls we received at the church -- and people who lived in the area who stopped in to pray and even ask the questions, “Why is this happening?” and “Is this the beginning of the last days?”

As a Christian, I believe it happened because of hatred, sin and the temptations of Satan in this world. I also believe that only the Lord knows when the last days will come, but this was a sign for all of us to wake up and be alert. For Jesus will come again on the last day.

So on the night of Sept. 11, we called for a special worship service and many, many people came to pray and hear God’s word.

In the days following 9/11, many churches were filled with people. People wanted to hear the comfort from God. In our congregation, we had more than 500 people attend worship services that weekend. There was also a renewed sense of respect for other people, especially for police, fire and military professionals. Communities seemed to bond together. There was a real sense of camaraderie. Sometimes I wonder why that did not last. Have we forgotten? Or have we forgotten about God?

Our lives are very fragile. One day we might feel very confident, but the next may be very troubled. As human beings, we do not know what the next day will bring. But the Lord does. He holds the future in his hands. The Bible tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” That same Jesus, who came to this world in love, still loves us today. He went to the cross for our sins. He rose again for us so that all who believe in him would be confident that no matter what happens in the future, we have eternal life.

Remembering is good for all of us. We can learn a lot from remembering. We can also remember that God loves us. In fact, because we know his love for us, we can be confident and joyful about the future. Have a wonderful day, and remember to look forward to the future.

The Rev. Paul Appold is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansing. The opinions are the writer's.

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