Tuesday is the 11th anniversary of the events that unfolded on September 11, 2001. For me, that was a day like any other day that I have lived through (even though I have faced some tragic days in their own way and for me and my family were probably just as devastating personally though they did not have a national impact). 9/11 impacted the entire nation and changed the way that we live. After those events took place, our nation and our lives have never been the same.
Air travel changed. TSA requirements can be overwhelming. Our youth that are going to the NLYG in San Antonio, TX July 1-5, 2013 will face those restrictions. The nations economy changed. The way we viewed other people changed. A war on terror began. (one which will continue on for years because terrorism will not cease. It will continue to morph and change, moving from one place to another.)
For the first time as a nation (with the exception of the events following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the beginning of WW 2) we no longer felt safe within our borders. We came to realize that we are just as vulnerable as any other nation. It was disconcerting, unnerving and a feeling that we didn't like. We were the United States of America. Everyone looked to us for safety and security. They looked to us to lead the free world forward in peace and harmony. This attack, this act of terrorism, did exactly what it was intended to do - cause us to doubt our security, our leaders and our ability to lead the world as a nation.
In reality, all that it really did was bring to the front the reality that was there all along. We had built a false sense of security in that which has no security at all. We were certain in ourselves. And we realized that there was no certainty to be found there. Where could we turn?
As a nation, we turned to God (and I prayed that it was to the Triune God rather than some other god that couldn't help). In Psalm 46 we read, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountain tremble at its swelling." And boy did it feel like the mountains were moving and falling (the Twin Towers were taller than any of the hills in our area) and the earth did shake (as they came tumbling down). "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns." God was the one place we turned. Prayer. Lifting up our hearts and lives to the God of our fathers, the God who sent His only-begotten Son into the world, the God who loves us and cares for us each and every day of our lives. This tragedy caused us to turn back from ourselves to the Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
"Be still and know that I am God. i will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" At that moment, our nation said "Amen!" We proclaimed out trust and faith in this God. We turned to Him and He healed the brokenness of our nation.
"The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Soon we had forgotten this lesson. Soon we forgot about our God. He is still with us. He is still our fortress. As we prepare to remember 9/11 tomorrow, we need to return to that faith, that trust in our God. We need to bow our heads in humility and proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!" Let us not forget the lessons learned on September 11, 2001, the lessons that taught us that we are not in control nor are we all powerful. Only God is in control. Only He is all powerful. He is our fortress and our strength. Only in Him can we say, "We shall not be moved."
As a nation, let us return to our knees in faith - faith in the true God, faith in Jesus Christ as our only Savior. Let us trust once again, not in the arm of man or the promises of our leaders, but in the Triune God alone.
(All quotes are from Psalm 46, English Standard Version.)