To be completely honest, I don’t remember much about what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I remember I was nine years old and at home, watching the infamous footage of the second tower being hit by a plane, and I vaguely remember a little of what the President said when he addressed the Nation concerning the attacks. That’s about it. Like I said, I don’t know much about that day. But what I do know is that, a decade later, people are still shaken to the core by what happened. People are still grieving, wondering, and questioning.
This week, I was watching a documentary of the attack. I saw footage of the towers buckling under the flames, of people running for their lives, of firefighters searching the enormous pile of rubble, and of people openly sobbing. After about twenty minutes of hearing people cry out, asking God why something so terrible happened, I had to leave the room. I found myself asking, “Did this really happen, Lord?” My heart broke as I thought of children who will never know one of their parents; of kids being raised by just their dad, mom, or grandparent. My heart broke as I saw for the first time how awful that Tuesday really was, and how awful it remains to this day.
Sometimes I think in allegories. It may sound strange, but it’s how my mind works. This week I realized how one of those towers can represent the world. It’s full of people wondering what’s next; what their purpose is. It’s full of people holding on to a last bit of hope; full of people trying to find meaning. It’s full of people frantically looking for a way out, and full of people desperate for peace.
And after I thought about that, I thought of Jesus. Like the Ultimate Firefighter. It made me picture people running into His safe, loving arms; taking refuge in His strength. I know that, while 9/11 drew some people closer to God, it also caused some to question his sovereignty. Even so, He won’t give up on us. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” He wants us to take that step out of the fire and into his Love. He wants us to leave the darkness behind and step into the Light.
Even though the Nation was shaken on 9/11, God still has plans for us, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). We also “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Plus, Deuteronomy 31:6 promises us that “he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Maybe you’re like me and do not know anyone personally who was lost on that day. But maybe you’re in the middle of your own inferno. Maybe you’re trying to sift through the rubble, debris, or ashes to piece together any bit of hope you can find. Find it in Jesus. Find it in the One who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
This past Sunday, on the anniversary of 9/11, my pastor said something that stuck with me. He said, “Jesus was the same on September 11, as He was on September 10, as He was on September 12…” Yes, the country was turned upside down in a matter of minutes, but God did not change. He will not change. He is still on His throne.
I don’t know what your situation is, but I do know this: we’re all broken people. The conservative farmer in Pennsylvania is broken, the zealous liberal in New York is broken, the Hollywood actor in California is broken, and the college student posting on her blog is broken. Everyone is broken. That’s exactly why we need Jesus. He alone can heal our brokenness. That’s why we can’t live another day without Him. It’s why we don’t have any reason to fear what’s next for our lives, our Nation, or even our world. God is bigger, and He is stronger than anything we could ever be faced with.
My heart still breaks for those affected by September 11, 2001. I’m praying for the ones who now fight for freedom, and for people left hurting: I’m praying for their healing, and I’m praying they’ll find the “peace of God which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).
I’m not a Bible scholar or an expert on anything by any means, and I’ll admit that at times I slip up and worry for no reason, but thankfully I’ve got a Friend in Jesus Christ; in the One Who is in charge. No matter what. I believe that with everything I am.
I’m very proud to be an American, and I take comfort in the fact that the Lord is still at work in the United States. God bless America!
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:1-3).