“EVIL MAY HAVE CAUSED THE DAY, BUT LOVE RULED IT.”
Stanley Rylon Hall, April 14, 1933—September 11, 2001.
SILENT RESOLVE AND THE GOD WHO LET ME DOWN (a 9/11 Story) by Susan Van Volkenburgh
Review by Vivian Belknap
Within her book, Silent Resolve and The God Who Let Me Down, Susan Van Volkenburgh shares her heart and bears her soul as she is taken on a journey she did not plan. On September 11, 2001 Susan’s world was forever changed as she and her family learned of the loss of her father, Stanley R. Hall, from the tragic events of 9/11. He was on board American Airlines flight 77, the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.
It’s apparent from the first page that Susan loves and reveres her father so much. This book is very well written; after 10 years of attempting to put into words the roller coaster ride of emotions she experienced, the reader will actually feel her grief and despair as she realizes her children will grow up without their grandfather, and she will never hear her dad’s bass voice singing in church again, and her dad will never grow old.
Susan’s honest questioning of her faith and the God who seemed to have let her down, turned His back on her, and became totally silent is helpful to all of us as we deal with tragedies in our own lives. She continually goes back to the Bible where she reads how Job dealt with his losses. And she quotes Proverbs 12:21, “…no harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble,” and Psalms 91:11, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” If that’s true, then Susan ponders, “How then did this happen? Where was God in all this?”
Susan comes to the realization that none of us have a right to demand anything from God. He’s not obligated to answer any of our questioning. She reminds us that our God is sovereign; Job 38:1-2, 4, 6-7.
“For the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Psalms 37:23. Susan reminds all of us that since this scripture is truth, “therefore each step taken must pass before the sanction of God”, and “It is a strange comfort to know that nothing can befall you without God’s approval.” She reminds us of Romans 8:28 , “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Susan believes she would never have written about her father’s life had it not ended so tragically on 9/11, and she believes that some “good” has come from this tragedy. I believe her writing of Silent Resolve, and The God Who Let Me Down has brought healing to her; is there still an empty place in her heart and life? Yes of course, but she is stronger today and her faith has been renewed.
All of us have suffered grief during our lives, and because of God’s love and grace through those times we are able to comfort others as we’ve been comforted. There is much comfort in the words of Susan Van Volkenburgh. “Evil may have caused the day, but love ruled it.”
By Vivian Belknap, Director of Marketing for KKGM AM 1630
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