In September we remembered the attacks that shook America and the world to its core 15 years ago.
As then-New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani said on the day, "The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear".
But it was about more than the casualties and the destruction the event brought to their families. It was a threat to our deluded sense of safety, to democracy; it was a slap in the face that everything we had could be taken away from before our very eyes.
In the last 12 months relentless attacks from Islamic State have awakened similar feelings. We find ourselves systematically shaking our heads in desolation and anxiety as we contemplate the state of our world.
November 2015 saw the most fatal event on French soil since World War 2 with 137 dead in the Paris attacks.
Boko Haram gunmen raided their way through Nigerian villages, killing men and abducting girls.
The Brussels bombings in March this year killed 35 and wounded more than 300.
The April Kabul attack was the Taliban's biggest attack on an urban area since 2001.
A mass shooting in Orlando revived the US debate surrounding gun laws.
And at the end of July a priest's throat was slit and four nuns were taken hostage in a church in Rouen, France.
A mere selection out of dozens of attacks this year.
And the question is asked: where is God in the midst of all this pain, this death, this incomprehensible suffering?
The answer is, He is right there among us.
Now when disaster covers our eyes with dust, blood, and tears, it is no wonder we cannot see God.
We might be looking in the wrong place, our gaze towards the heavens waiting for God's all-powerful strike that will make it all better ... when we should be looking down among the rubble, in the heart of the pain.
On September 13, 2001, Frank Silecchia, a worker at Ground Zero, discovered a 6-metre cross of two steel beams amongst the debris. Those with access to the site used the cross as a shrine of sorts, leaving messages on it or praying before it.
After a few weeks within the cleanup site the cross hindered nearby work, so was removed and later erected on a pedestal one block from Ground Zero. Some 10 years later it was housed in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
People of many faiths, and people with no faith, were caught up in the 9/11 tragedy. And among all the pain, sometimes, God brings good, like the phone call Sujo John received shortly after the attack from his pregnant wife whom he had presumed dead.
Those seeking answers and solace saw two steel beams in the shape of a cross. They remembered God was not averse to getting involved in man's mess. He never absented Himself from suffering, even sending His own Son, who also would be covered with dust, blood and tears as He hung on the cross to pay for our sins.
He calls us to look up and find Him over all and in control of it all; to look down and find Him intimately involved and caring for it all ... to trust Him as the ultimate Lord of it all.•