by Richard Mansel, managing editor
On September 11, 2001, the sky was clear and blue. It was one of the most beautiful days in recent memory.
Pilots took off at the behest of air traffic controllers. Military jets prepared and lifted off for training missions. All was normal and people’s spirits lifted high on the breeze.
People watching news channels heard of a small plane crashing into the North tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 A.M. People were shocked at the terrible accident.
Airline personnel wondered how a pilot could make such an error on such a clear day.
Bad and unclear information circulates among planes, pilots and controllers. The day continues as normal. At 9:03, news channels show an airliner crash into the South Tower live and in stunning color.
Everyone stops breathing for a second.
Mass confusion ensues. People hear rumors and reports on their cellphones and computers and tell flight personnel. They dismiss these reports as mistakes.
At 9:17, all New York airports shut down. Controllers re-route airliners without explanation. Controllers are overwhelmed and speak as few words as possible.
Military jets scramble into the sky with and without weapons. No one knows who is in charge. Pilots hear a variety of stories such as bombs exploding at the White House and the Pentagon.
Innocent planes come close to being shot down because of inaccurate or incomplete reports. Fighter planes fill the New York airspace and nearly run into each other and become increasingly frustrated at the lack of clear guidelines. Different planes and software lead to incompatibility and communication nightmares.
The problem was that no single person knew everything that was happening. People held scraps of the page, rather than the entire sheet. Therefore, no one understood the bigger picture and chaos reigned.
People frequently ask the question, “Why does God allow people to suffer?” “Why doesn’t he take care of his children?”
Just like people on September 11, no one on earth has a complete picture of what is happening. We are not omniscient. We see scraps of the page, filled with false or incomplete knowledge. Accordingly, we cannot make perfectly informed decisions. We cannot see all the pieces on the board. We do not see God’s providence in action.
God can indeed see the entire picture, coming and going (1 John 3:20). He looks down on time, as we do at our dinner table, at all the pieces in their place. His infinite wisdom and knowledge allow him to see the consequences and opportunities decades in advance. He also knows his infinite plan as it is steered through time.
Job and his friends discussed God, like he was not there. Finally, God speaks and his message is that man has no idea how powerful he is. He sees and does things we cannot even imagine as fallible humans (Job 38-41).
We suffer because of our own sins and weaknesses. We suffer because of the actions of others and because our bodies are weak and break down.
God sees what is possible, without violating man’s freewill or altering the Lord’s plan of salvation. His depth of understanding is so vast, that man is hopeless to grasp it.
We just need to accept by faith that God has our best interests at heart and that he is consummate goodness (Psalm 145:9). Let us leave the rest to him and absorb his word, so we will be wise.
Let God do the leading. He is perfectly capable.
by Richard Mansel, managing editor