Truth in Tragedy
By Kara Hackett – The Echo
Two days after Sept. 11, 2001, Mary Lou Habecker distributed scripture portions outside of the American Bible Society (ABS) on Broadway Avenue in New York, N.Y.
As people wandered the ashen streets, searching for loved ones and answers, a line formed in front of her booth. Before long, a well dressed man with a large bag approached Mary Lou, asking how many booklets he was allowed to have. When she told him he could take as many as he needed, he shoveled more than 100 into his bag.
“Thank you so much,” he said. “By the way, I think you might be interested to know, I’m Muslim, but we all need God right now.”
In a generation defined by postmodernism and relativity, truth has become a personal perspective—a decision left to the discretion of the beholder. We go about our daily lives, logically explaining our beliefs and systematically arranging them.
However, when disaster strikes, it offsets our balance, scattering the pages of our perceptions and shattering our understanding of what is real. We helplessly stumble around the dark corners of our minds, searching for answers in logical places like science and reason, but suddenly nothing makes sense.
Events like Sept. 11 remind us that our world is full of questions that can only be partially answered. In a culture consumed by the power of personal intellect, we often forget that the most prominent truths cannot be solely sustained by science or reason. Instead, they point us God.
In the hour of Christ’s condemnation, he said: “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).
The truth is what we are driven to when science seems nonsensical, and reason is unresponsive to the questions that plague our minds. Amidst tragedy, truth is not numbers. It is not complex theories or confusing formulas. Instead, truth is what we know, but cannot see, what we feel, but cannot touch, what we experience, but struggle to explain. In a world of uncertainties, truth is what we find after piecing together the fragments of a reality only partially revealed.
As we try to makes sense of difficult situations like Sept. 11, we yearn for God to intervene, yet His alleged inaction makes Him feel distant—sometimes to the point of nonexistence. But if God did not exist, then truth does not exist, and if truth does not exist, nothing would feel right or wrong in the first place.
Where was God on Sept. 11, 2001? He was in the same place he was as he watched Christ crucified on the cross. Yet, thousands of years later Pontius Pilate’s age old question is still on our lips: “What is truth?” Luckily, Christ has already set the answer in our hearts. We find it in the depths of our souls when everything we think we know collapses before our eyes.