President John F. Kennedy was assassinated fifty years ago tomorrow. It was a defining day for many people of that generation. I, however, don't remember where I was when the shooting occurred. That's because I wasn't born until seven years later. I'm told that for many people this assassination marked a loss of innocence for our country. It certainly was the first tragedy in a decade full of them for this nation.
Two events stand out in my lifetime as "you-remember-where-you-were-when-you-heard-about-it" moments. In 1986 I was standing in the hallway of my high school when someone told me that the Space Shuttle Challenger had blown up on takeoff. As a ninth grader it was difficult to believe.
Fast forward fifteen years to a day almost all of us remember - September 11, 2001. I was working as a school psychologist in a public school system here in Georgia at the time. Someone opened my office door and told me that some terrorists had flown planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. We quickly set up some TV's in the main school office. I remember watching live coverage as the towers collapsed. It was surreal.
When terrible things like this occur it leaves people asking for answers. Secular society tries to come up with reasons to feel better. The false answers usually amount to something like, "We can do it if we stick together!" That's what all the USA Pride bumper stickers amounted to after 9/11.
By the grace of God, we know the only answer that has any substance when these national tragedies occur. This answer is not just a fact; the answer is a person: Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus and his gospel are the only real hope this world has. As his followers, we have been exceedingly blessed to know Who carries us during dark times.
Every fifteen to twenty-five years something absolutely terrible happens in this country. My guess is that before too long something else will happen. I'm not fatalistic about it. I know God is in control. However, because we live in a fallen, sin-ravaged world, terrible things happen. We don't know when or what will occur, but we can be fairly certain it will. The challenge for us as Jesus-followers is to be ready to give an answer when the time comes.