Reacting to God's Latest Fan

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck,
The Sept. 11 tragedy has left me with a feeling of helplessness and even a hint of despair. I realize that this is nothing compared to what the victims' families are experiencing. My heart aches for them. Our church held a prayer service that evening. I realized that I do not enter into that depth of prayer often enough. Why do we wait for tragedy before we seek God? Even Christians, like me, do not seek Him. This has brought me face to face with my own anemic prayer life.

I wasn't sure whether to be happy or appalled by the Congress reading from the Psalms and praying, when just weeks before they were making decisions about our country that fly in the face of the living God. Suddenly, the name of God is an OK thing to mention in public. Maybe this incident will bring this nation to its knees. Maybe we will seek Him and He will heal our land. I don't just mean the unsaved though; we Christians are really a lukewarm bunch, aren't we?

Chuck's Response
Thanks for your kind note of concern about whether we had family members affected by the tragedy. We were not involved, but bleed in our hearts for the people who were. You are absolutely right. God is an acceptable topic to almost everyone when things seem out of control. I experienced that first hand last Wednesday. I do the chapel meetings for the Seattle Mariners baseball team and about a third of the team usually comes. Wednesday, when we clinched the American League West pennant, instead of celebrating in the regular way, the head coach, Lou Piniella, had the team go kneel on he pitcher's mound after the game, where I led them in prayer. It made the national news ... maybe you saw it. The non-Christian players were touched and crying as the team came together like never before. This tragedy is a wake up call that we need God's help and power to get through it. 

It's OK that we turn to God in trouble. That's why He is there, and this tragedy has made our non-Christian friends much more open to the Gospel. So, at least, in that sense, this has been a blessing. I'm so sorry that so many families have been devastated, but it's just a matter of this type of thing coming "home" now. All of our wars since 1865 have been in someone else's country. 

Thanks for living Christ in front of your family and friends. I'm excited to be co-partners with you as we love other people into the kingdom.

Chuck Snyder


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Updated 05/24/2005