As everyone remembers today, September 11, 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the infamous September 11, 2001, when our nation was attacked by terrorism. It was what seemed to be an ordinary day, but a day that would change our nation forever.
I was 12 years old, sitting in my 7th grade homeroom class at Burns Middle School in Brandon, FL. To be honest, I had never heard of the Twin Towers until that day. We watched the news all day at school. I knew something major and scary was going on, but I couldn’t wrap my 12 year old mind around the enormity of the situation. After I got home from school that day, my family of 5, my dad, mom, and brothers Jason and Jonathan and I gathered together in our living room. It was the first time that I can remember praying together as a family that wasn’t around a meal. We all stood in a circle, holding hands, as my dad and mom lead us to pray for our nation. That moment, was what defined that day for me. I began to understand that this day would forever be part of history. From that point on I started to pay attention to the news and what was going on in the world. I tried to understand, but until recently, I couldn’t quite grasp it.
Today is the 10 year anniversary of that day. We all remember. We look back. We look at pictures. We watch those fateful videos. We pause. We pray.
Throughout today one verse has been replaying in my mind: “The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.” (Psalm 29:10) – God was not surprised by the attacks. He was not caught of guard. He was in control. Our human minds cannot understand, and we don’t have to. All we have to do is be still and know that He is God. He is on His throne. He is worthy to be worshiped. He shall forever be praised.
As we recount the number of first responders that lost their lives, the number of airline passengers and crew, and the number of innocent civilians who went to work like any other day, I can’t help but think of those who were spared. Yes, it is a tragedy that 3,000 people lost their lives. I’m not minimizing that by any means. That’s not my intent. But I can’t help but remember the stories of those who were running late to work that day, and thereby were not in harms way. Those who might have been in traffic and their every day route was interrupted. I think of those tourists who weren’t scheduled to visit the Towers that day. I think of those who were spared. I praise God for those who survived. So often we focus on the negative, yet it is my conviction that thousands more were spared to carry us from that day, to pray for those who lost loved ones, and to lead our nation to a stronger unity, to carry the name of Jesus to those who have yet to hear. We’ve been spared. For what reason? To merely talk about that day and to mourn? Or to provide HOPE for others, hope that can only come from Jesus Christ? I am convinced it is the latter–that we have a mission.
This afternoon I’ve been sprawled out on a blanket on my patio porch, journaling, praying, and remembering that day. Not only did the Lord help me remember September 11, 2001, but He brought to my mind the years between 2001-2011. Ten years. Ten years have passed. I am 10 years older. I am 22, turning 23 in a few months. Quietly, the Lord began to make me ponder how I’ve grown in HIM over the last 10 years. When I was 12, I was a quiet Christian girl, saved for five years, just trying to figure out how Jesus wanted me to be a missionary in my middle school while I also went through puberty and tried to get straight A’s. In the last ten years I have started wearing make-up, learned to drive, survived high school, graduated, went to two different colleges, was called to ministry, graduated college, and gotten married. Wow.
I am one of the spared. He not only saved me and my family on September 11, 2001, He saved me from tremendous amounts of sin and entanglement in the toughest years of my life. He saved me during a tough move from Tampa to Woodstock. He saved me from temptations that teenagers often struggle with. He saved my physical purity. He SAVED me! He’s done so much in me spiritually over the last ten years. He has taught me how to cultivate intimacy with Him. He has called me to minister to teenage girls. He has taught me how to pray. He has taught me about grace. He has taught me dependency on Him. He has taught me that satisfaction can come only from HIM. He has given me a hunger for the Word and not the things of this world. He has quickened my heart for missions. Oh, praise the Lord for the work that He has done! I do not say all of this to boast about my life or the work that He is doing, I say that to boast in the cross of Christ and the difference the gospel has made to this daughter of the King. I am unbelievably overwhelmed by how He has enabled me to grow in Him over the past 10 years, which only makes me bubble over with joy at the thought of what He can and will do in the next 10 years.
If I were to present a challenge to anyone who reads this and to myself, it is to do a self evaluation of your relationship with the Lord over the last 10 years. And from there, evaluate where you want to be ten years from now. In ten years, if the Lord grants me that long on this earth or if Jesus doesn’t come back before then, I will be 32 years old. I do not want to be in the same place spiritually that I am now. I desire so much more. I want to know Him deeper, so so much more intimately than I can even fathom now. I want to learn, to grow, to be challenged. I want to suffer for His sake. I want to endure trials and tribulations so that He can produce in me that which is impossible without strife. I want to see His glory, to dive into His presence, and to be a gospel centered woman.
Oh He is so worth it. No one else will ever compare. I have no idea what He has in store for me. But I know that the things of this world do not satisfy, and I only desire to know Him and to do His kingdom work.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”