As the days progress, the reality of the many challenges facing us as a nation begin to seize our consciousness with a compelling grip.  Many people have stated that they have found themselves reaching out to God for consolation and courage while others admit that they have not found any relief from their pain.  They question that if God does indeed exist - why does he/she allow such grief and suffering in the world? Why aren't we protected from evil?

No one has the answer.  It is part and parcel of the great mystery of life and our very existence.  We ask:  "What then is the purpose of our existence?"  We see and experience so many contradictions.  The western free world and its people enjoy freedom and many blessings while people of third world countries are starving and barely existing in an oppressed environment from the moment they're born.  Yet the struggle for survival is very powerful - no matter what expression it invokes.  Clearly, we are not all created equal.  Perhaps we may have been created equal a long time ago - in the beginning of creation.  But that's an unproven conjecture at best. 

It would seem that much depends on the life circumstances that people are born into.  It suggests the springboard and foundation of the lives they are destined to live including their religious tenets.  While many people have succeeded to improve their life status, many never do. 

Those who have the gift of faith are truly fortunate and blessed.  Their faith sustains them in times of great crisis.   Prayer is a very powerful energy for those who believe and  trust that God will answer their prayers . . .  whatever their plea. Often they do not receive  exactly what they have prayed for but - eventually - they do receive guidance and relief from their problems.  Most likely, these answers generate from an inner wisdom that is tapped by going within and reflecting. 

There are other times when our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears from the powers that be and we can become frozen in time and embittered.  We vow we are not going to move forward until we are told "why".  However, a rational explanation is not always available.  God works in paradoxes - what seems big is really small - what seems a risk is really safe while the sure thing turns out to be the biggest risk.  As I studied the terrain and geographical location of the mid-Eastern countries, so barren, arid, dusty and mountainous, I began to see the paradox that exists for them.  While the land holds vast reservoirs of oil, which translates to great wealth in the eyes of those living in a democracy that encourages free enterprise, these Eastern  countries are impoverished spiritually and socially, disarmed by the boundaries the mountains and terrain have caused.  The natural megalith edifices have divided the countries into many different groups and fractions living within their borders.  Their militant leaders lack the desire and leadership to unite their people towards building their own great nations.  Those in power  wish to keep the people ignorant and intellectually imprisoned with archaic religious beliefs, customs, and misguided loyalty to an evil cause . . . to destroy the free world.  They are convinced that their holy war or jihad has the blessings of Allah.  How difficult it is for us to realize that they feel justified for the killing and destruction they are engaged in all over the world.

Yes, we as a people are very resilient and ingenious.  Our democracy and great resources have built a powerful and prosperous nation.  But we must come to grips as to what motivates terrorists around the world. What are the psychological and emotional factors that have seized them.  They are just as resilient (fanatical) to their cause and determined to win at all cost as we are - even more so.  We are facing a very treacherous enemy.  We must outsmart them at their game.  Knowledge is a very important tool to accomplish this.

One may question if these terrorists were chosen to play out the part of the "bad guys" in the ensuing battle of good versus evil in this worldwide saga and if all who have died were meant to sacrifice their lives for the benefit of all.  Again, these are some of the questions  we don't have an answer to although there are those who believe this is the way it is suppose to be.  We justifiably want retribution for their attacks on our country  and the free western world.  But, I fear as do many other people, we have opened up a can of worms.  We really need some Divine intercession at this point.  

In truth, all the world is a stage on which we play out the drama of life.  However, it is time to change and rewrite the play!  Love, courage, wisdom, and compassion for each other's differences is the key to world peace.  Even as we disagree with those who wish to destroy the lives of so many, we must exercise wisdom and patience in our noble efforts to show them how to respect human life and behave as responsible world citizens by our own  example.

There isn't any rational explanation as to why countries  engage in war and in the killing of innocent people worldwide.  We on planet Earth need a lot of help and guidance less we become an extinct species.  Man is a dichotomy - capable of great achievements and great destruction.  Perhaps then, our prayers should invoke a solution from a  higher force capable of knowing our hearts much better than we do.