looking back to 9/11

It was second period and I stood in my old room (now in the new Middle School). I was surrounded by Pre-calculus students when Ms. Gillaspie opened the door to suggest I turn on the TV. I still remember where I was standing, how the room was arranged, and some of the students in the room. As a class, we tuned in and sat in horror and astonishment as the events continued to unfold. As I spoke with some of my juniors on Tuesday, I realized on that day many were only 3 years old. How quickly the time has passed. The feelings of horror, loss, and confusion I remember so well is an event in the history books for them.

But I remember. I remember the fear that blanketed this country and the questions- Why? Who? Were more attacks coming? How could this have happened? Yet I also remember churches across this land opening their doors on a Tuesday night to the masses seeking comfort, direction, and hope. I remember the stories of bravery & the many people who converged on NYC to seek survivors and remove debris. I remember a country that pulled together, prayed, and helped their fellow American.

Last night at youth, we tackled the difficult question of why bad things happen. I was amazed at the depth of the students’ understanding thus far. We talked about how evil exists because people make wrong choices. We spoke of how God allows us to make choices instead of treating us as puppets. We also discussed how God is powerful enough to stop all the suffering by removing the evil… however, that would mean removing ALL of us for we all sin. The days may come ahead of those young people where they experience great loss, pain or struggles that take them back to this question of why and the answers may not seem as easy or as quick then. So, Lord, I pray now for my youth students. I know you will still be there to help them walk through those trials but I pray they have the eyes to find you in it.

As a country looking back 13 years ago today, the loss and tragedy are still there but may we also remember the good we saw during those days. The churches were full… for a while. Then life slowly returned to ‘normal’ and many went on with their lives as if God were not important or needed anymore. As our country looks back, may our eyes be drawn to you, Lord. Over and over in the Old Testament, you had your people set up stones so that when people saw them years later they would remember your hand at work. As new generations were born and saw the stones and asked, the stories of your faithfulness would be passed down. As we remember and retell the stories today, may we look up and be drawn closer to you. May we as a nation remember that we need you every day not during the greatest tragedies. Amen.

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