“Today is the Day”:  We Will Never Forget

September 11.

This is a date and that was a day which we will never forget.  September 11, 2001.  9/11.  It doesn’t matter how it’s written, it still causes a tingle to run up my neck every time.  The tragedy.  The sorrow.  The loss.  The massive and senseless, needless loss of people who were simply going to work like they had thousands of days before or merely catching a flight that morning.

But also the heroism and bravery of our fellow Americans.  The first responders.  The amazing passengers on United Flight 93 who almost saved themselves but definitely saved the country from an even more horrific outcome that day since those hijackers were planning to fly that plane into the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

And that reminds me of a great Bible verse, Romans 8:28 – “And we KNOW that God causes ALL things to work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  There are many ways which that proved true in a big-picture, overarching kind of way… but also and even down to the nitty-gritty.  Did you ever think that a 30-minute DELAY on a runway would be a good  thing?  Indeed, just the opposite:  that’s likely near the top of the list of things that cause people to curse aloud.  But just think about how gracious God was in letting that particular plane – United 93 – on that particular runway at that particular airport on that particular day get delayed for take-off for a solid half-hour, which in turn allowed those brave passengers to receive the phone conversations and realize what fate awaited their plane unless they rose up and fought back, to save their own lives but otherwise at least the lives of their fellow man on the ground in Washington, DC.  As you’ll hear me say regularly in future posts and one in particular, there is NO SUCH THING as a “coincidence” in life.  None whatsoever.  And this is a good and indeed historic example of that.  (Most of us probably thought we’d NEVER give thanks for a 30-minute delay in traffic, eh?)

And indeed, as recently noted in the past, despite all the tragic loss and destruction and devastation which occurred that day, I thank God for 9/11.  For that bravery and selflessness and self-sacrifice demonstrated so beautifully and courageously by those first responders in New York and Washington and our military heroes at NORAD and civil servants at several FAA centers in the east and those countless “average” citizens like me who dropped to the knee and cried out to God for mercy and grace and healing for a country which has always tasted so generously of His grace but has put that at risk in recent decades by turning its back on Him in many ways, reminding Him (for MY sake, NOT His) of the truth in James 5:11 – that He is by nature “full of compassion, and is merciful” and surely enough He doled both out in spades and has kept our nation free of big attacks these past 18 years since.  (Indeed, and interestingly beyond words, I prayed that prayer right at 10:30 a.m. ET, as the TV screen was showing the collapse of the second World Trade Center tower – and as it turns out that was the exact END of the active devastation.)

So on this day which will indeed never be forgotten, which like December 7 sixty years before will “live in infamy”, I thank God for all of those things, for bringing us through that horror and demonstrating His mercy and compassion yet again, just like that verse says.  May He continue to be on our side but as Abraham Lincoln so wisely put it, “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”  Amen.  Lord, please pour out that compassion particularly on those directly affected, who still feel the sting of the loss of friends and/or family.  For those now-adults who were children who lost one or both parents, forever altering the course and nature of their lives.  For those former first responders who still suffer the dreadful effects of cancer and other diseases to this day as a result of that  day.  For Lisa Beamer and surviving relatives of those courageous passengers on Flight 93 whom You used to lessen and dull the full brunt of that day.  May each of us serve as Your fingers and feet to them through our prayers on their behalf, donating to their respective charities, or simply showing kindness to strangers, who more likely than not were affected by that day even if by two or four or six degrees of separation.  And most of all, Lord, please keep using that day and the memory of it to remind the masses that only ONE THING in life really matters, and that’s the decision we make regarding the life to come, regarding our eternal destination.  May not a single person reading this take another step or spend another night without first making sure that this is a settled matter, by putting their faith in Your immaculate conception, perfect life, then Your death, burial, and resurrection to cover and pay the price for OUR sins and thus allow us to enjoy a relationship of peace with God, not hostility.

Please make that a pressing priority.  Please don’t delay even one more day.  Because, as so dramatically demonstrated on 9/11/01, “tomorrow” is guaranteed to nobody.  TODAY “is the day of salvation’ … NOW is ‘the acceptable time'” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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