This week’s devotions are based on the introduction week of “Explore God” (WATCH HERE)
For a brief time 22 years ago, life paused…people wondered…people worried…questions were asked…loved ones were hugged…the skis grew silent and the churches filled up.
September 11, 2001 will remain a strong memory for all alive to remember the terrorist attacks that took the lives of many and destroyed the sense of security that US citizens had enjoyed since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
In North Carolina where I was pastoring at the time, by that evening we had a prayer service planned and open to all who wanted to huddle around God’s word of grace and peace.
For a brief moment people sought answers to their uncertainties in a church. Why does evil exist? What is the purpose of life? Is God real? And others. Yet the shock of the tragedy soon returned to the routine of life and the urgent in life pressed out the importance of faith.
Would people do the same today?
I believe the same questions would be asked, but many would not seek answers in a church.
In 2020, a study Pew Research found that the number of Americans who identified as Christian was 64% in 2020, with 30% of the US population being classed as “religiously unaffiliated.” In 1990s that number was 92%. Those that were born just before 9/11 are 30% less likely to find answers to life’s most challenging moments and questions from a Christian foundation. 1 in 3. Let that sink in for a moment.
While a person’s association with Christianity may be less likely, a person’s propensity to ask challenging life questions is as real today as it was in 2001.
The difference is they are not coming to a church to have those questions answered. Some may be looking online. Some may be looking to secular philosophy. Some may not be looking. But many may seek input from a trusted friend.
And when they do, would you be ready?
If a person is experiencing their own personal tragedy and asked, “Why does God allow evil in the world?” Would you be able to answer?
If a person sees more discouragement and feels like life doesn’t matter and asks you, “What is the purpose in life anyway?
If a person is in the middle of a religious studies course at a secular university, they may ask you, “Is God real?”
And when they ask, would you be ready to answer?
I pray our nation never again experiences another 9/11. Much more than that, I pray that everyone of God’s people, you and me, are prepared to give a reason for the hope we have and answer life’s biggest questions clearly and succinctly. Peter encourages us:
1 Peter 3:13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Be ready! The questions are coming…Are you ready?
Apply: Stay with these devotions for the next weeks and I pray it is another tool to better equip you to give a reason for the HOPE you have!
Prayer: Lord God thank you for proving this journey of faith. I ask that you answer life’s big questions for me and then equip me to answer life’s big questions for others! AMEN.