September 11, 2001
- The World
collapse into rubble at ground Zero. Virtually every person in America,
as well as most people around the globe remembers where they were when
they witnessed this mind-boggling event. This was one of the most
devastating incident in our nation's history, an event on par with
December 7, 1941, however, lacked the "live" impact of modern TV
coverage bringing the immediate horror of this cowardly attack right
into our homes.
Where was God on that day?
Was God off in the far reaches of the universe on
urgent business? Did Satan use the opportunity to unleash his fury, or
was this simply a random act of violence by disturbed people?
If we believe there is a God at all - a Supreme
Being - how on Earth could He allow something so horrible to happen?
What about other horrendous events that can befall even the best of
us? And what if the disaster lacks the convenient distance of
television - what if this is happening in our own lives? Friends of
ours watched helplessly as their toddler son died right in front of
them on their lawn from a rare, undiagnosed condition. How can any of
us come to terms with such a horrific event without asking the obvious
Where was God?
Did He even care about this youngster's death and
the agony his parents were made to endure? Why didn't He intervene?
Why, indeed, do bad things happen to good people? If God is real, a
Creator of everything, then shouldn't He be powerful enough to save us
from horrible events happening to us? Why doesn't He?
Perhaps circumstances in your own life - or the
lives of people close to you - make no sense, whatsoever. How do we
explain a personal disaster we never asked for nor deserve? Be this a
huge event with global impact, or a tragedy closer to home, many of us
dare not venture too close to those nagging questions. . .a hesitancy
even shared by many clerics within the world's religious
Where was God when we needed Him?
These are problems (and there
are numerous others) that go largely unanswered even in a lot of our
churches, synagogues, and mosques. Often, the answers we are given -
by those who are supposed to know -
leave us unsatisfied, bewildered, and without the deep sense of
understanding and comfort we so desperately crave.
It might not take a disastrous event to shine a
spotlight on our human frustrations, either. Sooner or later, most of
us are faced with the mystifying task of assessing our place in the
cosmos. Is there a God? How am I to respond to Him? Does any
difference exist between one religion and another? What path am I to
take? More often than not, even the primary question of our essential
being is left open to conjecture, philosophical speculation, and
superstition. Here's a fundamental matter each of us must face at one
time or another:
Why are we here?
Yes, why are we here? I don't mean right here
reading this. I mean what is our purpose in this world? Was our entry
into this life planned by God, or was chance the lone factor? These
questions are both specific and relevant, but the answers are so vague
in our minds most people stumble and trip at the mere thought of it.
In general we avoid thinking about difficult concepts and leave them
up to ivory-tower philosophers to debate.
Often, we put forth explanations that have been
handed down to us by others - our parents, a clergyman, professor, or
someone else we respect. Furthermore, we've adopted those answers for
no other reason than lack of something more certain to offer. Who can
know for sure, anyway?
The truth is, solutions are available to us. Coming
to realize this fact - that there are some answers - contains the
potential to forever alter our perception of the world, and to impact
our lives in unimaginable ways.
The truth shall set us free!
Most of us are familiar with
this simple insight. Indeed, the truth
set us free, but free from what? In reality, life is lived in the
trenches, not poised on some lofty mountaintop. Oh, perhaps we get to
visit the high places on occasion, but then we're back to living our
lives in the midst of all the dreck this world can throw at us.
I decided to write this book
because I found that it's actually possibile to experience immense joy
even under the worst of circumstances. This realization grew out of a
35 year search for the truth. Actually, it's more accurate to say God
unfolded this for me over those
many years, like peeling away the layers of an onion.
Where was God on that day?
I was lying in bed when my
wife came in and turned on the TV. "You've got to see this," she
shouted. "Someone flew a plane into one of the
towers." Of course, we didn't wait for long before another airliner
crashed into the second tower. In a flash, the awful truth came into
focus. We were under attack! A lot of innocent people were going to
Watching those towers implode and crumble to the
street below, I was overwhelmed - not with sadness nor despair - but
with the full awareness of a God who is still in complete control.
Yes, even in the midst of chaos and confusion, I felt the love of God
and His reassurance that He was caring for every single person
involved - despite appearances to the contrary.
This was the culmination of a
message He had been building in me for many years. Yes, everything
under God's control and, regardless what our situation is in life - no
matter how deep are our trenches - He is close beside us. Nothing
touches us that He is not aware of, and if difficulty plagues us, then
it does so for an extremely good reason.
I thought a lot about what
to title this book and nothing is more descriptive than "Give
Me The Keys To The Kingdom." What does
this mean, however? The meaning will be different for each of us, but
to me this means being able to experience absolute contentment and joy
right in the midst of the worst disaster or tragedy that can befall
us. This "key" eclipses anything the world's belief system, including
the various religions, works at getting us to conform to. In the end,
it is a peace and comfort transcending all understanding and logic.
Listen to the words of the
Paul: "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned
to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in
need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret
of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or
hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians
This is about comprehending our place in the
universe and being satisfied with where we are. The goal is to know
ourselves and where we're going. It's also about facing our demons eye
to eye with such confidence and clarity of purpose that nothing can
The concept of contentment
and joy will be reiterated throughout this book, time and time again,
because this is the goal for which we strive. Our
society, however, is geared toward instant gratification and quick
fixes. Swiftness doesn't work in most instances and the realization of
contentment and joy is no exception.
In order to arrive at the place we seek, you and I
must take a journey together. With each step may come challenges to
your assumptions of reality. Each new truth will open doors you might
not imagine to exist. Some of this may be familiar to you, but
surprises will come, maybe big ones. In the end, my prayer is for your
complete transformation. The events in your life may be the same, but
you will not!
Part One - A Foundation For Faith,
we'll look at the available facts regarding the existence of God, His
nature, and His eternal purpose for us. Fortunately, we live in a time
where the advancement of science is nothing short of incredible.
Thanks to instruments like the Hubble Telescope, we can ascertain the
scope of our universe in astonishing ways. Amazing as this might seem,
the result of this knowledge sheds light on our understanding of
scripture in ways our forefathers could not imagine.
We take a bit of a side trip
in Part Two - Religion On Trial.
This section is two chapters long. The first is titled, "Why God Hates
Religion." This always raises a few eyebrows; sometimes right up to
the hairline. However, to proceed further in our journey we must
understand that religion is not the answer we seek.
Part Three - Life Lived In
The Trenches - is all about applying the
principles we've learned up to this point and putting flesh and bone
on them. A whole bunch of theory leaves us more frustrated and
confused than ever if it can't be brought into every-day, real-life
circumstances. So, my prayer is that you will emerge with a new
perspective of life and be better equipped to handle the road ahead.
I look forward to taking you on a wondrous journey
of discovery - about God, about the universe, and about yourself. In
the end, I hope you'll gain a more complete understanding of how this
life we've been given really works. The result will bring a level of
contentment, joy, and peace that right now you might assume to be