Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Is it possible that terrible disasters can turn the heart of a nation to God? After 9/11, for a few weeks, people in America were solemn. Even Disneyland closed briefly. Like ancient King Ahab who "walked softly" after Elijah's stern rebuke, the nation seemed to walk softly for a time. Talk shows became a bit subdued in tone; comedians were more serious for a time; and sales of luxury items slacked off.
The media reported a year later that New Yorkers were still in a state of "humility." The horror was unspeakable. Thoughtful people everywhere couldn't help but think of Revelation's description of the final fall of modern "Babylon": "'Alas, alas that great city ... for in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' ... Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, 'Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore'" (18:16-21).
"God bless America!" we sing. "Stand beside her, and guide her." And all this time since 1776, God has done so (except for a skirmish in 1812 when the British burned the White House). God has "stood beside" us and saved us from invasion within our own shores. He has responded to our National Hymn, "Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King!" Now we still wonder why He "stood back" and permitted (for the first time!) that horrendous incursion of 9/11. Will Heaven ever be forced to judge, "There's nothing of moral rectitude left in this nation worth divinely protecting"?
No, disasters are not God's method of turning a nation's heart to Him. Ahab's "repentance" lasted only a short time, as do all repentances induced by fear. Only the "Elijah" message of "turning hearts," of much more abounding grace, can effect a permanent conversion. It's time for it, on this great cosmic Day of Atonement!
—Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 10, 2002.
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