Security is Found Only in God
Dr. Thomas Q. Robbins
When it comes to human suffering, grief is probably the most intense and the most debilitating. The attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 caused us to experienced grief individually, nationally and internationally. During the sixth anniversary memorial service, family, friends and onlookers expressed their intense loss and intention of never forgetting those who lost their lives in and event that changed all our lives and our world. We have all suffered because of it. Grief is not something in which to dwell, but sometimes, if we're not careful, we can get caught up in grief to the point where we don't seem to be able to escape and go on with life.
As you read Thomas Q's closing review of the principles he has been presents and applies them to our lives, replace the event of the Twin Towers and insert in your thinking the massive barrier you are facing or tragedy that has touched your life. God's principles remain constant and apply to any period of time in this life.
I had a friend who lost his wife two years before I lost my wife. Followoing his wife's death, he visited her grave everyday. Surely, it was an act of love on his part, but, knowing him as I did, it was evident that my friend was trapped in grief and couldn't get out of it, move on and live his life again. My friend is a good example of why we must not be one who remains too long in grief.
Having said that, I need also to say we must not be a people who flee too quickly from grief. I think if I hear one more analysis of the terrorist attack on our nation, I may go mad! One more talking head, one more expert that understands and tells us how to perceive it -- will tip me over. I want out of it! All of us want out of it. It's so bad that when I start to think about it, my mind just won't get there. I can't accept or understand it, and I assume that's true for you as well as for me.
It's an important principle that we must not flee too quickly grief. Why? Grief provides us an opportunity to do some evaluation and reflection on the true meaning of life. What's it all about? You know... this business of existence? What is true and false? What is real and what is fabrication? What is worth investing my life in and what is something that is simply fleeting and temporal and will surely pass away? It's in times of grief like we are now experiencing that gives us a unique opportunity to do this kind of reflection.
And in the midst of this, it frequently occurs to us that the things of this world - the delight of the flesh, the delight of the eye and the pride of riches - really donâ€™t amount to anything at all. What is real in life is our belief and trust in Godâ€™s mercy toward us in Jesus Christ. Godâ€™s steadfast love showed itself in full bloom when He sent us a Savior - Jesus Christ, our Lord. I chose today's Scripture because it really says something to me and I hope to you as well. In the midst of our grief we try to think about what is real, true and lasting -- and what is worth the investment of our life, the life of our nation and the life of this world.
I would like you to read this following Scripture: He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the moneybox. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then He called His disciples and said to them, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty, has put in everything she had--all she had to live on." As He came out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!" Then Jesus asked him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another. All will be thrown down."
In this Scripture, Jesus and his disciples are in Jerusalem the most cosmopolitan, sophisticated and largest financial center at the time in that small part of the world. Jesus and his disciples were at the temple, a most glorious edifice. While they're there, they watched people come by and make contributions to the Temple's treasury. And I can imagine how I would be reacting if I were there with them. There I would be, a poor fisherman visiting Jerusalem which would be similar to being taken to New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles or wherever. My eyes would be big as saucers and my senses overwhelmed by the opulence which tends to be a part of such a large sophisticated cosmopolitan area. Jesus and the disciples watched the people come by and put money in this treasury or alms box that was specially designed for show and to reward those who gave by attracting the attention of others with their gift.
As Jesus and his disciples watched they saw wealthy people who were well dressed and gave every indication of their wealth and resources. These people who had the things of this world would hang around and watch how much others put in the treasury. Jesus finds it necessary to call their attention to a poor woman who lived in poverty and was a widow. That meant she had no male partner to take care of her to protect her. This poor committed woman, who undoubtedly loved God, came to the Temple and placed in the treasury box what amounted to little or nothing. Her gift was two copper coins that amounted to a penny.
Everyone standing around heard her gift go into the box because of the way it was constructed and knew what kind of gift it was. The Pharisees and publicans loved showing how much" they were giving by the noise their contribution made. This woman's gift was clearly not silver or gold, but copper.
Jesus said to his disciples, "This woman has given more than anybody else because she has given all she has." Wow! What a statement! She has given everything she has to live on which means she has devoted her life in its totality to loving God in response to God's love for her. Maybe the disciples didn't get the message. Maybe they didn't understand. Maybe they were still overcome by their experience with 'coming to the city' and seeing the glories of the world.
The Scriptural account tells us that they walked outside and one of the disciples said, "Wow, Lord. Look at all these giant stones! Look at all these buildings!" Isn"t it interesting how big buildings have always impressed us? Seems like bigness is something that has always been important to the members of the human race. And big buildings seem to reflect the very height of technological advancement of mankind whatever the period of history or culture. There's nothing wrong with admiring big buildings or what they signify, but so frequently that admiration can become adulation and worship of mankind and his capacity to build things.
Remember "The Tower of Babel?" Man decided to build the biggest thing that could be built, the tallest building he could build to make a name for himself. We're impressed with big buildings. I know I am. I was so impressed with the World Trade Center when I saw it. And to think that in a matter of hours, it was gone.
When Jesus said about the stones of the Jewish Temple, "I tell you there will be left not one stone upon another," He was speaking about the Roman invasion that was going to happen twenty or thirty years after His death. The Roman army, led by Antiochus Ephinies, came into Jerusalem in 69 AD and absolutely leveled this exquisite and massive temple and expelled the Jews from the Promised Land until 1948.
But thank God that our security, our truth, our reality is not in buildings. It's not in the biggest of buildings or the smallest of buildings. It's not in the most sophisticated of buildings or in the technological progress, the intellectual progress or the knowledge of humankind. Our security is in God and God alone. But how easily we can become seduced and deceived and not realize this simple truth.
And now I need to say something, which might not be popular. When I left the sanctuary after the first worship service following the Terrorst attack on the World Trade Center six years ago, a friend and beloved member of this church cornered me and said, "I wish I could find a preacher somewhere that said what we need to do is go over there and bomb the hell out of 'em."
Now, friends, let me tell you something about forgiveness - the forgiveness that Jesus Christ talks about. To forgive somebody doesn't mean you have to like them. It doesn't mean you have to associate with them. And it doesn't excuse anybody from being accountable for his or her acts. If you break into my house and burglarize my house, I hope I can forgive you. But I will tell you I'm going to report you to the police and I hope they arrest you. And I'm going to testify at your trial, and I hope you are punished for that action.
You see, to say we forgive somebody does not mean that they're not to be held accountable for their actions in whatever way that is appropriate. But let me tell you something, friends, let's not, for one minute, think that our security -- our ultimate security -- is based upon our military might. Do you realize what has happened? We have the most advanced military war machine in the world and cardboard box openers defeated us. Pay attention to what is written in the 33rd Psalm.
His great army does not save a king. A warrior is not delivered by his great strength. A war-horse is a vain hope for victory and despite its great might, it cannot save. There is only one source of salvation for individuals, for peoples, for nations, and for the world. And that is God's love for us in Jesus Christ. And our response of love and adoration and trust and obedience and action based upon God's love for us in Jesus Christ. We cannot help but in times of grief and certainly this event has confronted us with our own mortality.
The thousands of people who were killed, our people, did not have on uniforms. You know, when you put on a uniform in the military, thereâ€™s at least the implied message that sometime at some place, you may be called upon to walk in harm's way. But none of these thousands and thousands of our citizens, except of course in the Pentagon, did not wear uniforms.
They went to work on Tuesday morning, some caught a plane from one coast thinking they would end up on the other coast, some went to their offices, their jobs with little or no inkling that this would be the last morning they would live.
So life itself is fleeting. And our security is not found in our own lives or being. Our security is found in God and in God alone.
And isn't it appropriate that those in the building and on the plane who were able to reach loved ones with their cell phone did not talk about portfolios, insurance, vacations, raises, bosses, or a new house. They talked about how much they loved and cared and what a wonderful life they had together and caring references to family, children, faith in God, relationships and what counts after this life is over. This was a great testimony for all of us.
The hymn that was sung at the 7-11 Memorial Service at the National Cathedral, "A Mighty Fortress is our God" says this: One little word shall fell him -- the him being Satan, evil--the demonic forces in this world that would destroy civilization and damn us all to Hell forever, and the one little word is the living Word of God -- Jesus Christ.
That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them abideth,
The Spirit and the gifts are ours,
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also,
the body they may kill,
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom (and only His kingdom) is forever.
Always remember that. We are a people who are called by God and blessed by God and, if you are willing to realize it, chosen by God for the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this world. That's our security. That's our profound hope.
The hope that Jesus Christ really and truly spoke God's words when He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, though they die, yet shall they live. And those who believe in Me shall never never die." That's our hope. That's our security. That's our life. In this time and space dimension it's our life. When we die, it's life that is lived for eternity with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Will you take this moment to pray with me?
Copyright 2001 Come and See Ministries
About the Twin Towers Photo
This "Sunrise over lower Manhatten" was taken by a lady returning on a cruise on the morning of July 28, 2001
She writes: As I watched the beautiful skyline of New York City float past me I noticed the sun was about to line up just behind the twin towers. I was lucky enough to snap the picture at exactly the right moment. If you look at the sun rays it is almost prophetic. - a little spooky.
When I show this picture to anyone they almost always asks for a copy. I just want to share it with all who want it. Please take this picture and share it with anyone and everyone who likes it. I've been printing them like crazy on my home computer to give to those that want a copy.