As a Christian I think one of the hardest things to explain to non-Christians is why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
I was working in the corporate world with a non-Christian, who was newly out of college, just starting his career, at the time of the Sept. 11th attacks and I remember him asking me this question.
There is no short answer. I believe that God is good, that He loves us as His own children, that He has a purpose and plan for our lives, that He is near to all who call on Him. But at the same time I believe He is much more concerned with us and others coming to know Him and rely on Him than He is our temporary comfort during our short stay on Earth.
I know from my own life that it has mostly been the hard things, the "bad" things, that have brought me the closest to Jesus.
I do not know why God allowed Sept. 11, 2001 to happen.
I do believe with certainty that on that day, "Jesus wept." John 11:35. I believe Jesus wept and continues to weep with each individual person grieving a loved one lost that day, just as He wept with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus.
I do know that on Sept. 14th, 2001, I was able to invite that young non-believing co-worker to my church for a lunchtime prayer vigil. And he came.
I also know that this article says that in Afghanistan, there were only 17 known Christians in the country before al-Qaeda attacked the United States and today, there are well over 10,000 Afghan followers of Christ.
I am thankful that God doesn't expect me to have all the answers but to just trust Him and follow Him.
"Look, among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days -- You would not believe if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5
Find more Thankful Thursday here.