I think we can all vividly recall the events of 6 years ago. Most of us sat, glued to the television watching in horror as the clips were played over and over and over again. A jetliner slamming into one of the twin towers, an orange burst of fire exploding out the other end. Smoke, sirens, screaming, people thrusting themselves out of windows and plummeting to their deaths on the New York City street below.

Voices of on-the-scene reporters turning to panic and cameras jolting, rushing, turning, bouncing… The towers collapsing, caving in on themselves with a plume of smoke, debris and waves of dust. People everywhere shouting, crying, bleeding, making a mad dash for safety.

The lives inside the buildings were quickly snuffed out. Officials, office workers, waitresses, civilians, firefighters, and on the list goes… Here one moment and the next hurled into eternity.

Three planes, all filled with people who had full schedules, were meeting demands, or perhaps taking a vacation or going to visit family, unaware of the hijackers in their midst who had bigger plans. Plans that would thrust eternity on all of them. The twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington DC, a lonely field in Pennsylvania, all victims to these planes overtaken by hijackers.

The horrific scenes played over and over and over and over again on our television screens, turning our stomachs in shock and horror and bringing tears to our eyes. I remember gaping at the monitor as a tremendously huge plume of smoke backdrops the Lady Liberty against the New York harbor and thinking, “This is America?”

Americans held their breath, wondering what on earth was happening? What plane would go down next? Is this some sort of war? Who was attacking? Where was this attack coming from? And then the ultimate question, Where was God? Why did He allow this to happen?

Tough questions, all of them… But the biggest was, Why God?

Why did hundreds of innocent lives lay ruined and crushed beneath layers of dust and charred beams? Where was God when the hijackers took over, when planes crashed, when explosions erupted, when towers crashed, when death stole in and claimed so many? If God is so good, why did He allow this to happen?

Can I claim to know answers and resort to eloquence to ease the national distress that overtook our country? Can I expect to understand the ways of God? Could I declare that this was fitting punishment against an immoral and wicked nation? No. I can not.

We were never promised lives free of pain and heartache. We were never told that we would always live in comfort and ease. In fact, Christ Himself told us to expect wars and catastrophes.

Was He there that fateful day? Yes. He who sees the sparrow that falls from its nest was there that day. He felt the pain, He carried the sorrow, He held the grief-stricken loved one, and He felt the hatred of evil we all were feeling.

Some things were simply not meant to be understood in this life. But I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things of yesterday, nor things present, nor things of tomorrow, nor height, nor depth… indeed, nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God which He invested in us through His only Son.

If you don’t know that love, you will never be able to come to grips with tragedy.