Today marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Although two decades have passed since that terrifying and tragic incident, everyone who’s old enough to remember, can recall where they were when they first heard the news of the twin towers being hit. For those who were there in person, they remember it as the day the sky turned black, clouded with ash and smoke, over New York City.
That day started like any other day. No one could have expected such an event would take place, stopping time for people nationwide. It was televised worldwide and broadcasted across radio stations across the U.S. All eyes and ears were on NYC that day. In that moment, the world was forever changed by the attack that caused 3,000 lives to be lost.
Even though I was too young to remember where I was, or what I was doing, on that day (as I was just a toddler at the time), I do clearly remember the aftershock of 9/11. It was taught and talked about all the time as I grew up. I was told about how the world worked to heal, repair, and better defend itself in the days, months, and even years after what had happened. That event claimed more than just a day. It lives in the memories of millions of people, especially those directly affected by the attack. I grew up with these stories. I’ve watched videos, seen photos, heard testimonies from actual survivors, and read articles about that day. Whether you were there or not, it’s a memory shared by the world. And even though I know we can’t experience time as God does, it amazes me that the people of NYC didn’t feel the presence of the future staring back at them on that day.
But, despite the gravity and devastation of 9/11, there is and was hope to be found in Jesus.
How can I say this when such evil things like this happen?
Psalm 46:1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.”
This passage, among many others in the Bible, promises us that God didn’t abandon the world on that day. He didn’t desert those who were killed, the first responders who risked their lives to save people trapped under debris, or the people who lost loved ones due to the attack. Even in situations where the world was literally crumbling at people’s feet, God promised to be a refuge for those who were hurting and needed a Savior. God was still moving, providing hope, help, and comfort to those in need.
Likewise, He is a God of justice who will bring about the judgement of those who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Psalms 37:28 says, “For the Lord loves justice and does not abandon His godly ones; They are protected forever, But the descendants of the wicked will be eliminated.”
It also says in Proverbs 21:15, “The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, but is terror to the workers of iniquity.”
I want to end with the following quote. This quote is an excerpt of a prayer by John Piper who said this a decade after 9/11 took place. He said:
“We turn to you, heavenly Father, as our rock and our refuge, as our King and our comforter. We pray that you continue to sustain all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. Show them mercy. Give them comfort. For those who believe in you, minister by your Spirit and the truths of your word. For those who are far from you, use this tragedy in a new way a decade later to draw these broken-hearted men, women, and children to yourself...We thank you Lord for the firemen and police officers who risked their lives, and often gave their lives, to search for and rescue the victims of 9/11... May every moment of adversity and prosperity point us to Christ. Keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfector of our faith. Let us run to Christ. Let us cling to Christ. Let us find forgiveness in Christ. Let us find assurance in Christ. For the only true promise of peace, in this life and in the next, is found in Christ. We gladly confess that he is our only comfort in life and in death. Some trust in chariots; some trust in horses; some trust in the Koran; some trust in their wealth; some trust in their ancestors; some trust in their degrees; some trust in tanks and talks and predator drones. But we trust in the name of the Lord our God. It’s in his name of the Lord Jesus that we live and move and have our being, and it’s in his name we pray, Amen.”