I find it amazing just how relevant God can be to us personally, or as
a nation, at certain critical moments. It is also interesting how
irrelevant God can be to many people the rest of the time. Sept. 11 is a
perfect illustration. In the immediate days following that national
tragedy, God suddenly became incredibly important.
A tidal wave of people turned to the God in that hour of crisis. Not
since World War II had America reached out in such unified passion to the
God of the universe. Everywhere people cried out to God, searching for
answers, horrified at the evil that had taken so many innocent lives. An
outpouring of spiritual fervor gripped our land.
In Washington, senators and congressmen sang “God Bless America” on
the steps of the Capitol. Teachers and students prayed in public schools.
In civic centers throughout our country, government officials led
prayers. Fire stations, police departments and sheriff offices became
sanctuaries. Here in Laguna, we held a prayer vigil on Main Beach.
Articles on faith appeared on the front pages of virtually every
newspaper in our land. We read inspiring stories of those who had
narrowly escaped the Twin Towers, people who lavishly gave God credit for
leading them to safety.
People always turn to God during tragedy. We experienced a similar
reaction after the Oklahoma City bombing a few years back. People become
desperate for a ray of hope, longing to know there is a God greater than
all the grief and chaos surrounding them, someone who can bring comfort,
compassion and mercy.
But how quickly we forget. After a time, life gradually returns back
to some sense of normalcy and God once again slides into the background.
The biases against God emerge afresh. Those who have sought to rid the
American public life from every vestige of the God, such as the American
Civil Liberties Union, begin anew their relentless attack. Many
newspapers soon opt to again ignore faith or God, giving those issues
little or no print at all.
Interesting, isn’t it? I assert God should always be important. I
write this column because I strongly believe God, faith and spirituality
are the most critical issues of life, by far. I don’t think anything else
even comes close. There are those in Laguna who will disagree, but let me
ask them these questions.
If God exists, and this God is active in our lives, don’t you want to
be aware of who this God is? If this God protects, comforts, imparts joy
and peace, rest and contentment in our lives, don’t you want to know this
If this God created all the wonder and beauty we see in Laguna -- our
extraordinary beaches, gorgeous sunsets, beautiful hills and canyons --
aren’t you interested, just a little, in who such a God might be? If this
God holds the answers to this temporary life, and the next life which
will never end, shouldn’t you give this God some consideration?
In my opinion, these are far and away the most important questions in
* JAY GRANT is a pastor-teacher and 32-year resident of Laguna Beach.
He can be reached at P.O. Box 391, Laguna Beach CA, 92652 or by e-mail at