Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ten years ago today the U.S. saw it’s most devastating terrorist attack, ever. Almost 3,000 people lost their lives as Islamic terrorists overthrew control of 4 airliners and used them as missiles to create as much destruction as possible. In the 10 years since the attacks of 9/11/01 not only has the United States gone through many drastic changes, but also the rest of the world. Security alerts, the Patriot Act, increased traveling guidelines and rules and most alarmingly the rise of this religion that brought forth these terrorists.
My day was like any other, until I heard the news of the first tower being hit. I was working in the factory, but had a TV in the same room as my desk, so I went into the office to see what was going on. I remember at first the reporters were saying that a pilot had made a huge mistake and had crashed into one of the buildings of the Twin Towers. I relayed this message to the line workers and went back in to the office to see the second plane hit the second tower live on the TV. I then knew that these were not accidents, but done purposefully. Then came news of the Pentagon and Flight 93 and the world was ever changed.
That day I also remember falling back onto what I had always been told and taught about God, “Just ask Him into your heart and you will be OK”. That’s what I did several times, realizing in the minutes after the attacks that life can end at any moment and I wanted to be “right with God” if I were to die that day also. Thing is, I had said this exact same prayer hundreds of times through my life, first at 8 years old and then countless times through my years. I remember reading the “Left Behind” book just the year before the 911 attacks and doing the same thing, feeling the same emptiness and knowing that I did not really know God.
Something was happening to me though. God was working in my life to reveal Himself to me. Over the next few years I got married, got a promotion and lost my father to complications from a stroke. Death became very real to me and so did the fact that I did not know God. This is when He started to really work in me and allowed me to start hearing some really God centered men speak of the grace that God has extended to me, to the whole world. I had always seen myself as a “good” person, after all I had never killed anyone, I worked hard, never stole anything and was even the designated driver when I went out with the guys. In relation to the rest of the world I was indeed a good person, but in relation to God I was sin filled and in condemnation. For the first time in my life God had revealed to me my heart and how me-centric it was. He began to show me my need of Him and just how much was sacrificed so that I could have a relationship with Him. The Cross became real to me and so did Jesus Christ. That is when I truly believed and “the prayer” was not even needed. I, for the first time, knew that I was so far separated from God, there was nothing I could ever do to deserve a relationship with Him and totally put my faith in His Word and in Christ and His sinless life, His sacrifice on Calvary, His resurrection and took the yoke off of me and placed it onto Him, once and forever.
So, the terrorist attacks of 911 will be forever a part of our history. We will always remember the horrible terrorist acts carried out that day. A day that seemingly turned the attention of this nation toward God, with many prayer meetings and crying to God for restoration, soon turned again to contempt toward God. Many now question, “Where was God on September 11th ?“ or “How could a loving God allow this type of thing to happen?“. This nation continues to legally kill more lives every day than this act of terrorism caused, in the killing of unborn children. Why or how, some ask. Because of sin, plain and simple. The sin that permeates the livelihood of the majority of people today is what causes these types of things to happen, not God.
I will always remember that day and my initial reactions and how God used that for good in my life. I still get tears in my eyes seeing the images from that day, hearing the cries of people making phone calls to loved ones, hearing the desperation in the voices of fire and rescue personnel and even in the normally calloused news reporters voices as they speak of praying to a God that they do not even know. I was not saved because of the atrocity of 911, but those events made a lasting impression on me that God meant for good.