Friday, September 9, 2011

remember 9-11-01

Proverbs 3:25 NASB
Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;

Where were you when you first learned of the attacks of September 11, 2001?  I was sitting at my desk at the church I was pastor of in Bassett, Virginia when the phone rang.  On the other end was one of our men whose son was missing in the Pentagon near Washington, DC.  I was oblivious to what was going on.  Immediately I walked across the street to my house and began to watch the horror of the day unfold via the news on TV.

The first tower had fallen by the time I turned on the TV, and the Pentagon had been hit.  The plane headed for the 2nd tower in NYC and the plane in Pennsylvania had not crashed yet.  It was a terrible day for the United States.  It was a terrible day for the world.

It was also a turning point for us as individuals.  That night our church was full of people who came to pray for those touched by the horrible attacks.  The son who was missing had been found.  The prayer time was quiet and uneasy time for all who attended, especially those who had friends or relatives in New York or in the military.  Even the next Sunday the church was full of people seeking God and seeking answers.  This was true across our country as people looked to God.  That happens in times of crisis.  We need God.  But we need God all the time.

Only a couple days later we learned that one of our neighbor's had a son-in-law who was a firefighter with the FDNY and was missing.  I cannot image what it must of been like to lose a family member in any part of the happenings on that fateful day of September 11th.  There have been memorial services by the thousands in the last ten years.  None of them have brought back those who died.

This is not a political event either.  Some made it out that our president or other world leaders were at fault.  You can place blame any where you like, but I believe God used this event to focus our attention on Him and on what is needed in and around our lives.  Look back at the verse I quoted above, Proverbs 3:25.  Sudden fear is something we react to in many different ways, yet people who trust God ought to react in differently.  Not because we are better but because we have hope in Jesus.  Without that hope we are in major trouble here, now as well as in eternity.

There have been many other difficult things in the last decade.  Some includes the death of our soldiers and the changes in our world.  One thing remains strong: God is in control.  I don't understand that, but that fact gives me confidence.  When bad things happen, we can trust God and lead others to do the same.

Right now fires are raging in Bastrop County, Texas where my friend John Higgins and thousands of others are helping.  Over 8,000 people are displaced.  Thousands of homes have been burned down.  Lives are crumbling.  Yet people still need and can find hope in Jesus.  For many life will never be the same.  Pray for those impacted by these fires.

Remember right after Christmas in 2004?  A tsunami rocked Asia in ways no one was looking for.  Thousands of people lost their lives.  One of our church family had just returned from a mission trip in Thailand where much of the destruction took place.  The tsunami changed thousands upon thousands of people forever.

The phone rang again for me as I was traveling home from a Thanksgiving holiday in Georgia as one of our dear friend's son had died by his own hand.  What a horrific happening for those close to this family.  It has shaped many of us in new ways, but we will never be the same.

Just before I was born in 1970 the football team from West Virginia's Marshall University was in a plane crashed that killed everyone on board.  That event rocked the people of that school and so many others.  Things changed from that date.

You can name hundreds of other events that have happened in your lifetime.  Few are as significant in our nation's history as the events of September 11, 2011.  But each one is significant in our lives.  This weekend we will remember this event on its 10th anniversary.  No, it is not a celebration.  It is a difficult occasion, yet God can and will use this day to turn people toward Him and to give people hope.

We are called to give people hope.  We are called to remind people that when "sudden fear" comes that there is someone to turn to.  His name is Jesus.  Do you know Him?

Use this weekend to celebrate Jesus.  Not to celebrate the horrible events of 9-11 or other past event.  Use this weekend to point people to God.  Our church will be celebrating our 5th year of ministry and begin a church.  There will be a time to remember 9-11.  There will also be exciting worship and concert by our band, baptism of about 20 people whose lives have been changed by God and time with people who have been touched by what God has done around them.

Take some time to remember 9-11.  Take even more time and make a commitment to offer hope to the people around you.  It will make a difference.

"My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil." --- Edward Mote wrote the hymn "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge.

1 comment: said...

pastor as you know i was in ny on 911,i doubt ill forget it or the horror of it.the sentiment of what you wrote captures it all.harry

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