by Suzanne Thomas

We all remember where we were that day, September 11, 2001.  But, do you remember where you were September 9, 2001?  My friend, Cindy does, because she was attending Worship Services in the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, New York, listening to a sermon by Jim Cymbala.  What the pastor could not have known then, but we do know now, is that God was helping him to prepare his church for the coming days, and the tragedy that would come to be known as 9/11.

Pastor Cymbala preached that day on Romans 8:28-29, and he called his sermon “Purpose Prearranged.”  He taught that day that even though bad things happen to us in this life, those bad things can produce ten good things.

  1. Bad things in life produce convictions; cause us to walk more closely with God.
  2. Bad things in life produce honesty.
  3. Bad things in life produce priorities.  Our priority should be to love Him and walk in His ways.
  4. Bad things in life produce change.  As we move closer to God, we become more like Him.
  5. Bad things in life produce holiness.
  6. Bad things in life produce security.  Psalm 32:7; Psalm 119:17
  7. Bad things in life produce worship.
  8. Bad things in life produce humility.
  9. Bad things in life produce kindness.
  10. Bad things in life produce desire for heaven.  They remind us what a glorious thing heaven will be, that our tears will be wiped away.

As we look back and remember September 11, as bad as it was, and the losses we suffered, can you see in your life where suffering has produced a closer walk with the Lord?  Has suffering caused you to be more honest with God?

Does suffering make you re-prioritize your life?  Do bad things in your life produce change; do you become more like God because of hard times?  Do you remember all the pictures of people running to houses of worship after the attacks of 9/11?  I do.  God can, and He does, use suffering to make us into new and different people.

This weekend, as you talk about 9/11 with your children, remember to include some discussion about how God uses suffering in our lives, and that God is bigger and greater, and more awesome than any power in this world.