October 1, 2001
Prayer letter by Ramesh Richard
My dear friend:
“Will anything ever be the same again?”—the question of the hour for the still-new century haunts us. Our team of speakers and colleagues at the Pastors Bookshop conference in hot and humid New Delhi were sipping a cold drink when we heard America dialing 911. September 11, 2001 forever changed the world, especially in terms of personal security.
Though ominous and wrenching, Black Tuesday cannot and does not change the One! At a special time of prayer for America, North Indian pastors prayed for wisdom for world leaders, justice for evildoers, and the salvation for the enemies of the Church. Sorrowful moistened eyes, helpless humbled hearts, naturally bent knees, submissive raised hands, and querying baffled minds accented our common humanity in the face of ghastly efforts of ghostly men. The world will never be the same again; but, to emphasize the redundant, God will always be the same—again and again and again!
“God is our refuge and strength.” I rehearsed this assurance of Psalm 46 while leading pastoral prayers for my adopted land in my birth-land. Neither the military, nor politicians, nor financiers; not the police, nor government, nor technology; not globalization, nor stocks, nor any other human enterprise will be our refuge and strength. Our harbor of hope is Almighty God—the Only Unchangeable in a world of variables. “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (vs. 7, 11). His very presence is our “very present help” (v. 1).
In the face of an ominous 21st century; in the disruption of personal security; in the hindrance of self-generated and sustained optimism and in receiving condolences and compassion from civil people across the world, God calls His congregation to, “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10). Though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with its swelling, “we will not fear” (vs. 2-3), because God’s very presence with His people is the Constant constant.
Though nothing will be the same on the earth again, God’s person is unalterable, His promises unchangeable, His position unmovable, His intentions unquestionable, and His purposes undefeatable.
“I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (v. 10), He asserts. Between now and then in time, and here and there in place, in the middle of the variables, there is one dependable, reliable constant – God’s “very” presence, immediate, proximate and intimate. His global exaltation and worldwide recognition is being accomplished even through these cataclysmic times. Our first words in heaven, says C.S. Lewis, will be, “Of course.”