Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 - 15 Years Later

September 11, 2001 was like another day for me. I was getting ready for work while my wife who was pregnant with our son was watching ER on TNT. I gave her a kiss and headed to the Promise Christian Bookstore where I was the only full-time clerk. The manager of the bookstore asked me if I heard about what happened in New York to which I replied, "No, I have not." He told me two planes crashed in the World Trade Center. At first, I thought he was pulling my leg. The idea of something like that could not have happened. As all of us are aware, it did.

My wife was a student at the time, where one of her professors dismissed class because of the events of what happened. She went back to our apartment and she saw the news footage of what was happening and what did happen. Both of us were filled with shock and panic because we have no idea what was happening. At the bookstore, we turned the radio on and that is when we heard about the plane crash at the Pentagon. My manager and I did not immediately jumped to conclusions. His wife was a Coast Guard reservist at that time, which she never got called to head to New York.

Hours later, I found out, though I cannot recall how and who told me, that a friend of ours who graduated two years before me died on September 10 while in Egypt. (Here is what I wrote about in remembrance of her, 5 years ago). So we have a tragedy that is happening nationally and a personal tragedy all going on at the same time not to mention we have a child on the way.

I returned home at 5pm where I finally got to see what happened for the first time on TV. It was something off a movie. Could not believe it. I remember my wife and I talking about it and praying for the victim's families. I found out that President George W. Bush was at Barksdale Air Force Base which is only an hour from where were heading back to Washington.

As we were praying for those affected by the terror attacks as well as my friend's family, my wife found out that one of her cousins, a two-year-old boy, was hit by a car and died at the scene. This happened two days later. Not only was 9/11 was a horrible day, the entire week was laced with tragedy.

I look back 15 years later, I praise God for the men and women who sacrificed themselves to make sure people around the building that attacked were safe. I know that people are still hurting from the tragedy of the terror attack which is a call for the church to pray for them. I still ask the Lord to protect our country. I am grateful for the military that went into action against terrorism. I also praise God for the leadership of President Bush during that time.

I know many are wondering if something like this can happen again. It might. However, I do know that no matter what happens, we have a sovereign God who is in control. He did not lose control 15 years ago. Let us pray for God to continually bless our country and protect it despite the issues we see in our day.

Christians, let us also continue to pray for the families who lost loved ones 15 years ago. To close here is a prayer that I posted from Scotty Smith 4 years ago:

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s the day on our calendars that has its own dark branding, “9/11.” There have been many days in history which stand out as graphic reminders of the pervasive brokenness of the world—of just how far we have fallen and just how fully the peace of creation has been violated by sin and death. But in my lifetime, no day in American history tells that story more clearly than September 11, 2001.

I’ll never forget how it felt watching the twin towers of the World Trade Center crumble to the earth—the morning of my wife’s 50th birthday. It was chilling, frightful, and surreal. But as I remember that day of terror and trauma, I also choose to remember you, Lord Jesus. Otherwise I would drift towards self-centered despair, nationalistic rage, or worse, a numbing indifference.

Lord Jesus, that day didn’t take you by surprise, catch you off guard or put you on notice. You were just as sovereign that day as the day you created the universe, as the day you died in our place on the cross, as the day you were raised from the dead. You are the Prince of Peace—the archetypal Peacemaker, the destroyer of hostilities and reconciler of enemies. You are the one who has come to make all things new, to restore broken things, to bring new creation delight from old creation decay.

Jesus, your death on the cross was the ultimate sowing of peace. As you died, taking the judgment we deserve, you were planted as the very seed which has secured an eternal harvest of righteousness. Your death was the death of death itself and the promise of eternal shalom.

Because of you, terror is terrified. Indeed, because of you, one day there will be no terror or tears. There will be no more brokenness or barrenness, no more heartaches or even heartburn, no more human trafficking or even human tooth decay, no more war or even aggravation, no more evil or even envy, no more poverty or even pouting, and no more “not yet,” “not enough,” or “not now.”

Our labors in you, King Jesus, are not in vain. Because of you we can, and must, live as peacemakers, sowing the peace of the gospel of the kingdom, with the absolute assurance that a harvest of righteousness is being raised and will be reaped.

We praise and adore you, for your name is Redeemer, Reconciler, and Restorer. We cry out loud, “Maranatha!” Come, Lord Jesus, come! Give us all the mercy, grace, and peace we need for this day, as we labor and wait for that Day. So very Amen we pray, with kingdom joy and great hope.

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