Jill Jarrell Newsome
Eighteen years later, as you, I still remember where I was when the airplane hit the first twin tower. Mike was at work and my girls were at school. I was on the phone with a friend from church. While I was trying to tell them what had happened, I said, “oh no, another plane just hit the other tower!” My friend said that was just a replay. But, sadly, I was right. A second plane had hit the second tower. I remember just wanting my family all together. I just stared at the television. We all walked around stunned! That night the tears started worrying about the world my girl’s were going to grow up in. It kept me up at night. I did not feel safe and worried about my family’s safety. A dark blanket of grief and confusion fell on our country. I really struggled. As I often do, I struggled until I realized this was out of my control. I was going to have to turn to God and trust His Word.
Three days after the twin tower attacks Billy Graham shared these words with the nation. “We’ve seen so much that brings tears to our eyes and makes us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.” Even if we know and trust God, we can be shaken by world events. We find ourselves feeling unsettled and not safe. Before 9/11, I never thought I would have to think of terrorism affecting my family!
On the first anniversary of the attacks, Charles Stanley wrote, “Safety in this world is an illusion. Sadly, the peace and blessing we have experienced in America has led to much complacency and self-dependence. Sometimes we need to be shaken out of our forgetfulness and into reliance upon Jesus Christ.” We were definitely shaken and I was going to have to rely on God! As some things in life can do, I was taught that day, again, tomorrow is not promised. James 4: 14, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Since then our country has seen other tragedies and we have seen them in our personal lives. The kind of things that make us ask, “how could this happen?” We have one question for God and that is “why”? There is so much we do not understand and may never understand. But the one thing I do know is that God is good. All the time! He does not plan evil. Jeremiah 29: 11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
As always, God brings good from bad situations. Romans 8: 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I recall the country pulling together as one. Some of us realized that the nice homes, nice cars and dreams we had been chasing were not important. We were living out 1 John 2: 16-17, “For everything in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” John came to understand that serving God was more important than his earthly desires.
Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 6: 17-19, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” The real treasures in life are those that we will see when we get to Heaven.
Trust God with whatever is keeping you up at night. He is the one constant in our lives. He never changes. Hebrews 13: 8, “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We will never be alone and God will never leave us. Deuteronomy 31: 6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Much time has passed since that day but as we remember it, let us be in prayer for God’s healing and peace. Let’s remember to pray for those who lost loved ones that day. Let’s stop and think about our life and our priorities.