As I sit in the early morning darkness, listening to the falling rain and drinking a cup of coffee, I’m contemplating what words of encouragement, exhortation or admonition I will send out on my blog today.
As I glance at my computer calendar it reads 9/9/2021. Suddenly my thoughts change.
Just two days until I leave for a meeting in Marion, Indiana, with still much to do.
Then it hit me.
Just two days until the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Flooding my mind are the images, and emotions of that “day of infamy” when two planes hit the Twin Towers. Then the Pentagon was stuck. Soon, there was a news flash of an airliner crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Later we learned of the heroism that prevented another catastrophic strike of possibly the White House or the Capitol.
As I reflect, I recall the many competing feelings of shock. Horror. Confusion. And uncertainty.
Soon there was anger, outrage, and indignation toward the terrorists who would perpetrate such an evil act.
We all remember the wave of unity, community, and patriotism that brought our nation together. President Bush with his bullhorn at ground zero giving a rousing speech.
Congress, with Republicans and Democrats joining together on the steps of the Capitol singing, “God Bless America.”
People helping people, often total strangers, with unselfish acts of kindness and generosity.
Sadly, that spirit has long since degenerated in a country and society that is more fragmented and politically divisive than ever before.
20 years later all of our lives are vastly different. Not only in our country and communities but personally and professionally.
Think about much your life has changed? How much we’ve experienced? The good times? The sad times? The uncertain times?
But 20 years later some things haven’t changed. Sickness, suffering, sorrow, and death are still with us, just like on 9/11.
Evil still exists. And the mastermind of 9/11 is still alive. No, not the Pakistani Islamist militant, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
I’m talking about El Diablo. The Devil. The great deceiver. The enemy of God, and good, and God’s people.
Satan ever lurks seeking to prey on his victims. He spreads lies. Inflicts hurt. Harms the innocent. And is always searching for a weakness to get a foothold in the heart of the godly. That hasn’t changed in 20 years.
However, I’m also reminded that in a fallen world filled with wickedness, there are still lots of good people. Hardworking, honorable, God-fearing folks who love their families, care about their neighbors and go about doing good.
These people are the “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.”
While concerned and saddened by events like 9/11, our faith is not shaken. Nor is our resolve diminished. In the midst of these turbulent times, we seek to serve God’s purpose. Follow His plan. Rely upon in His power and preeminence. And trust in His promises (Eph.1).
Biblically, I’m reminded that the ancient Preacher and writer of Ecclesiastes was right when he wrote:
“That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”
“There is a “time to be born and a time to die.” “
A time to weep and a time to laugh”
“A time to gain and a time to lose.”
“A time to love and a time to hate.
“A time of war and a time of peace.” (Eccl. 1:9; 3:1-9)
9/11 and the ensuing 20 years remind us that life is filled with good and evil. Right and wrong. Light and darkness. Happiness and sadness.
While 9/11 is an appropriate time to remember the fallen and to honor our heroes, it’s also a good time for solemn reflection and personal introspection.
Who am I?
What am I becoming?
How am I living?
Why am I here?
Where am I going?
Let’s pray that the feelings and reflections on this occasion can give birth to a new direction and renewed hope in our land. If not collectively, in our country, at least in our own homes. Our own churches. And our own lives.
Meanwhile, our journey continues toward that home of the soul.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman