Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 3, 2011

Bin Laden Dead

Grand Rapids, Michigan

I flew from Houston to Grand Rapids on Sunday evening in order to serve as one of the speakers at Life International’s annual banquet on Monday. As soon as the plane landed I turned on my phone and received a text message from my youngest daughter. Her message simply said: Bin Laden Dead. As I stared at the words I had a quick flashback to where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001 when I heard the report of a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Later that morning I watched the news reports of the second plane that crashed into the second tower. I was scheduled to fly to Bangladesh on September 16 but had to postpone my trip because flights were canceled in the wake of this horrible national tragedy. As I looked again at Gina’s text message I could hardly believe that Bin Laden was finally dead after all of these years.

In November 2001, I flew to Bangladesh and recorded these words in my journal on November 11:

My friend Todd and I are in a small village named after a Hindu leader who once lived in this now predominantly Muslim area in northern Bangladesh. We arrived to find the village saturated with propaganda praising Osama Bin Laden and his lieutenants for their attack on America. One young boy in the crowd stared at us from behind a full-color poster of the bearded bin Laden. And, some heckler mustered his best Bangla-flavored English and shouted, “American, Go Home.” Our bicycle rickshaw-walla (driver) strained every muscle as he peddled against a current of pedestrians, buses and trucks belching black puffs of smoke, his competitors, and the unsettling tension we felt so far from our familiar shore.

What I found disturbing was the volume of propaganda that was being distributed to the masses throughout the area we were in. Everywhere we went, we found full-color cards printed on glossy stock that featured a picture of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center along with rhetoric praising bin Laden. No one was weeping for or expressed concern over the nearly three-thousand innocent civilians that perished as a result of this act of extreme violence. The tension in the area was thick and November 11 was an especially challenging night (read my post entitled Night of Fear and Faith). And now, Bin Laden is dead. The master-mind of 9/11 who successfully evaded capture finally met his end. His death serves as a reminder that no matter who a person is or what he does, we will all die one day. And, those who live violently, like Bin Laden, often die in the same manner.

For those who lost family and friends on 9/11, Bin Laden’s death is nothing less than justice served. It’s easy to get discouraged when we see people like Bin Laden sin with apparent impunity. But we must never forget that God is not mocked and sooner or later we reap what we sow. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” And, indeed it does. Bin Laden is dead — a death that Bin Laden himself set in motion years earlier when he chose to do the unthinkable through an extreme act of terrorism. Even so, I do not feel like dancing in the streets, perhaps because I still remember the vivid images of so many in the Islamic world doing so after the tragedy of 9/11. Instead, I have turned my thoughts to Ezekiel where God said, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live (18:23). … For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn and live (18:32).”

Sadly, others will rise to take Bin Laden’s place and to devote themselves to acts of death and destruction. As a Christ-follower I may be called upon to lay down my life for what I believe but I will never take a life in order to spread what I believe. Bin Laden chose a path that ultimately led to his own destruction. I have chosen a path that will lead to life and to spreading the message of life to others. The path I have chosen starts at the foot of a cross, a divine plus sign raised on a hill more than two-thousand years ago. The world needs the message of the life-giver who hung on that cross so that fewer will chose paths of death and destruction, like Bin Laden and those he influenced. Bin Laden is dead, a reminder that while the wheels of God’s justice may move slowly, when they come they do grind finely.


Responses

  1. Amen brother. Your words make me meditate more on Jesus love!!!

  2. Wow, this is powerful!!! I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to be in the midst of people who were happy about the events of 9/11. It made me feel angry inside every time I saw a woman in Muslim dress for a long time after that. God bless you for the faith and love you display even in the face of such times.

  3. Thank you Omar for sharing in a balanced way. It is sad when people were happy at 9/11 but even sadder that their minds are controlled by the evil one. We hate Satan but love the sinner. So few are reached by telling them they are wrong but rather of the amazing love of Christ shown in the life of those who share the Gospel.
    Praise God for you Omar for sharing your life in Muslim Lands and being prepared to risk all for Christ.

  4. Thanks for the article Omar!

  5. I am seeing the reactions (not violent here) of those people, who loved him(!) some people are discussing a long story, about the death!

    by the way, I was with you guys [on trip to Bangladesh after 9/11].

    Thanks for sharing,
    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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