There are some events in life that are so shocking, so incomprehensible, that they are forever imprinted on our minds and our lives.
September 11, 2001 was just such a moment.
I woke up that morning to what seemed like a normal day. I put on a semblance of a "face" as my youngest prepared for school. We piled into the car, and headed over to pick up the two brothers we car-pooled with. We arrived, I honked the car, and we waited…
Finally, one of the brothers came to the car. Just as he was climbing in, his brother rushed out.
"Where have you guys been?" I asked. "I was worried that we were going to be late."
All of a sudden they both started telling me how a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers, and it was burning, and it looked like our country was under attack…
"Yeah, right," I said. I thought they were joking, or that they'd been playing some video game.
Somberly they replied, "No, it's really happening."
We flipped on the radio. And the tragic story began to unfold. As soon as I got home, I turned on the television.
And there I sat, glued to the screen, for the next two months.
You remember, it was stunning, mesmerizing, surreal, and so very, very tragic.
I think, in some way, every American citizen felt those planes crash into their own lives – and security and blind innocence burned to the ground. Our country would never be the same…
But we recovered – scarred and more wary, yes – but we still stood strong as a nation.
I'm sorry, but I don't think this country learned the most important lesson of 9/11. It didn't turn back to God. Maybe temporarily, yes – but a life-changing repentance, a confession of sin and a resolve to live by moral, Christian values? Not so much.
We cannot afford to miss the message of 9/11. Evil can reach our shores and decimate us on our own "turf." We are perhaps more vulnerable than we think. But most of all, we have forgotten our God, in whom we should trust.
Today's "Bible Pick 'Ems" – though originally a message given to the nation of Israel through the prophet, Jeremiah – should serve as a warning to us, too:
"'I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have…filled my territory with their evil deeds…Now I will show them my power; now I will show them my might. At last they will know that I am the LORD.'"
(Jeremiah 16:17-18, 21)
I feel like America, and the world itself, is half-asleep – dozing comfortably in a sin-soaked dream. We're calmly hitting the *snooze button* on the alarm that's trying to alert us to danger.
I shudder to think what a "wake-up call" might look like.
Yes, let's take today and remember all those people – civilians and rescuers – who lost their lives on that terrible day. Let's remember the people they left behind. Let's stop and honor all the people who have fought since that day for the cause of freedom.
Let's erect a proud ***star-spangled banner*** in our hearts, and stand tall as a nation.
But, I pray that we do one more thing – the most important thing.
I pray that we remember our LORD, the Almighty God of Heaven's Armies, the one true God that rules over all the world in His Sovereignty.
May we as a nation, and as individuals, remember and turn back – back to Him.
Back to true worship, back to His Holy Word, back to faith in His Son, back to right living and godly values.
Let us say along with Jeremiah, the words of a people wholly devoted to God:
"LORD, you are [our] strength and fortress, [our] refuge in the day of trouble!
Nations from around the world will come to you and say, 'Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage, for they worshiped worthless idols…'
But we worship at your throne – eternal, high, and glorious!
O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced…for they have abandoned the LORD, the fountain of living water.
…[but] blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water." (From Jeremiah 17)
Yes, I remember.
Where were you on 9/11?
And on this anniversary, what is your resolve about worshiping the Lord?
"When in doubt, search God out."