People have been asking me questions recently and sometimes I am afraid to answer them. One of them is "What happens to the people on those planes? Where are they now? Heaven? Hell?" There's no easy way to answer it. I want to tell them that they're in God's hands now, which is the truth, but I am obligated to answer them truthfully. My pastor probably explained it best and that's what I've been telling people:
If there were 75 people on one of those planes and out of the 75, 65 of them had heard the gospel of salvation and 10 of them had accepted Jesus as their savior, then they are in glory right now. For the believer, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The 10 out of the 75 who never heard the news of Jesus Christ, had never heard the gospel, they are not lost. Since they have never been preached the gospel of salvation, they are not responsible and they will be judged according to their deeds. But the 55 of the 65 who had heard the message of salvation and rejected it, they are lost. In Pastor Burns' words, "They have trampled upon the shed blood of Jesus."
Sad? Yes - infinitely tragic. It saddens me to the very depths of my heart. It's a sad, troubling time and the loss of human life and human souls is far greater a loss than the twin towers and petagon could ever be.
But there's another side to the coin. For the believer, this is a sign of the end times. Jesus said in Matthew 24:6,7:
And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom...
It does not make it any easier to accept nor lessen the grief you naturally feel, but it's the best consolation we have. It's galvanized the country and is bringing people back to God like nothing has in a long time. For those who say, "How can God allow something like this to happen?" Billy Graham's daughter had a good response:
We've shunned him from our lives, taken prayer out of schools, removed him from the government and the way we write our laws. If you push him aside, he won't stay around, and if he doesn't stay around, how can we remain under his protection?