Three days after the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, Billy Graham spoke words of peace and healing to a shocked nation at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. His timeless remarks can speak to us today—21 years later—as a country that still has much to learn in this ever-changing world.
The following are three lessons from 9/11, based off Mr. Graham’s speech:
1. We may not understand why tragedy occurs, but we must realize God did not create evil.
“I have been asked hundreds of times why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I do not know the answer. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and that He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering.
“The Bible says God is not the Author of evil. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 the Bible talks about the mystery of iniquity. The Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah said, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.'”
2. We need each other.
“What an example New York and Washington have been to the world these past few days! None of us will forget the pictures of our courageous firefighters and police, or the hundreds of people standing patiently in line to donate blood.
“A tragedy like this could have torn our country apart, but instead it has united us. So those perpetrators who took this on to tear us apart, it has worked the other way—it has backlashed. We are more united than ever before. I think this was exemplified in a very moving way when the members of our Congress stood shoulder to shoulder and sang, ‘God Bless America.'”
3. There is hope beyond this world.
“Yes, there is hope. There is hope for the present because the stage, I believe, has already been set for a new spirit in our nation.
“We desperately need a spiritual renewal in this country, and God has told us in His Word time after time that we need to repent of our sins and return to Him, and He will bless us in a new way.
“There also is hope for the future because of God’s promises. As a Christian, I have hope, not just for this life, but for heaven and the life to come. And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven now. And they wouldn’t want to come back. It’s so glorious and so wonderful. That is the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart.
“This event reminds us of the brevity and the uncertainty of life. We never know when we too will be called into eternity. I doubt if those people who got on those planes or who walked into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon on Tuesday thought that it would be the last day of their lives. And that’s why we each must face our own spiritual need and commit ourselves to God and His will.”