If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
I remember where I was and what I was doing when I received the news of the tragedy that had just taken place in New York City, on September 11,2001.
I had just rounded the corner at the hospital where I was working, going to take my place at the reception desk. As I approached the waiting room, I saw people gathered around the television. I could tell they had tuned in to the news, but I was still unsure of what had grasped everyone’s attention. With each step, the picture drew clearer, until I could tell exactly what was going on. We all watched in shocked silence as the story unraveled about exactly what was taking place that very moment. I can remember the fear that gripped at my heart as I heard the news anchor announce that what had happened was not an accident as was previously suspected, but an act of terrorism on our country.
I was pregnant with our first child at this time. I can not tell you the fear that I felt as I thought about what this event meant for our country and for the future of this unborn child that I was carrying. I can remember the fear and confusion on the people’s faces as they learned of the tragedy of that day.
I can still remember seeing cars sitting in long lines at the gas stations, filling gas cans and vehicles with as much gas as each would hold. I can remember shelves suddenly emptying of staple foods and supplies as people tried to prepare for the unknown days ahead.
I spent the night with my parents that night because my husband was working away from home and I was too afraid to stay alone. I remember sitting with my parents and trying to process the events of that day. I remember asking my dad what was going to happen now, what this meant for us as a nation.
I remember watching in the days that followed the attack as people came together in prayer. Senators, Congressmen, even our President, all banded together, asking God for grace and comfort. It seemed that everyone was looking to God for answers, help, peace.
We said we would never forget. We said that this horrific tragedy would forever hold a place in our hearts and in our minds, and it has. Every year we remember, we hold memorial services, and we take time to reflect.
We said we would not forget, but we have. No, we have not forgotten the loss, the pain, the tragedy, or the fear we felt on that day. Yet, we have forgotten something very important. We have forgotten God. We as a nation have forgotten the very One who holds our universe in His hands. We have forgotten the One who carries us through these times of pain and loss. We have not only forgotten Him, but we have gone so far as to remove any recognition of Him from our day of remembering of September 11.
What happened to the nation that was calling on God the day our world turned up-side-down? What happened to the nation that stood hand in hand and asked God to help us in our time of need? What happened to the one nation, under God?
Just as the events that happened on September 11 struck fear in the hearts of Americans everywhere, so should the fact that we are not only forgetting about God and all He has done for us, we are allowing Him to be shoved out of the very memory of everything our country is built upon. It is a scary fact when we consider that we as a nation are telling God that we do not need His help, we do not want Him in our Schools, we do not even want His name spoken in public places. These are the things that should scare us.
Man only has so much power. Under the protection of God our Savior, man can only do so much to us. Outside of that loving protection is a world we can not even imagine. Yet, we long for it, we beg for it, we as a nation fight every day for it.
Friends, as we take some time to reflect on today and what it has meant for our nation, let us not forget the real tragedy that is still taking place in our country. Yes, September 11, 2001 was a horrific time in our lives. Yes, thousands of innocent people lost their lives. But our world is still under attack. The difference in then and now is this: Then we were standing hand in hand praying for God to help and protect us. Now we are shaking our fists in His face and telling Him that we do not want any part of what He has to offer us. That is the true tragedy that we face today, twelve years later.
Today, on the anniversary of September 11, let us remember the innocent lives that were lost, let us remember the fallen heroes who gave their lives to help those in need. But, let us also remember the One who loved us so much that He was willing to die for our sins. Let us remember the One who holds us up and protects us from dangers that we can not even see. Let us remember the One who has promised to come again, and take us home to be with Him in Heaven.
Let us never forget all the sacrifices that were made. Not only on September 11,2001, but ultimately on Calvary all those years ago.