It is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was an event that changed the course of our nation and took the lives of thousands. It was a time when Americans came together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, and packed churches across the country in the weeks that followed. I suspect that this time of year will always be a struggle for the families who lost their loved ones on that fateful day. For many, perhaps the question of why still looms about and stalks their conscience and unconscious thoughts and, at times, consumes their thoughts to no end.
No doubt that among the thousands of people that went to work that morning at the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, no one ever thought they were in the final moments of life. Every year we see the events of that day replayed for us repeatedly, and it leaves viewers with a sense of hopelessness and despair, but last year I caught a different documentary. It did not focus on global terrorism, world politics, or the dynamics of a changed America, but solely on the men and women who lost their lives. It featured the telephone conversations between people trapped in the towers and their loved ones.
For example, trapped in his office, one man reached out to his loved ones and the world. He spoke to his wife, telling her how much he loved her. He talked with television reporters given details as best he could about the situation around him, and he encouraged the families of those who had loved ones still in the towers to stay calm. Here is a man dealing with his situation, imminent peril, and approaching death, encouraging others to remain calm!
Another example is a woman visiting New York on a business trip was attending a meeting that day in one of the towers just one or two floors above the impact site of the jetliner. Amid the chaos, she contacted her husband and father, and her father could sense that she knew her fate was sealed, that the end of her life was drawing near. Yet, she reminded both of them just how much she will always love them.
These are only two stories of bravery among hundreds, and the overarching thought that came to my mind was their sense of calmness. Now I grant you that some may not have completely understood the gravity of the situation; who did at that time? However, I believe that there was a greater force at work amid that tragedy two decades ago. I feel in my heart that it was the work of the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit was working in the hearts of those people trapped in the towers and the Pentagon, and I believe He was working in the hearts of their families and countless others across the nation. Are we to believe the events of 9/11 caught God off guard – No way! God knew that was going to occur, and as a result, I feel as though thousands came to accept His Son Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, for as we watched the towers collapse and fall, heaven saw souls rising from the ash.
Remember the man on the cross next to Jesus who said Jesus did not deserve crucifixion, unlike himself and the other man? He asked Jesus to remember him when the Lord came into His kingdom. Jesus replied, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.” On 9/11, I believe thousands felt the warm embrace of Jesus as they entered paradise.
In the weeks that followed, thousands upon thousands were filling churches across the nation where people turned to the cross and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Were the events of 9/11 both horrifying and tragic – yes indeed, and did they also serve to glorify God through countless salvations – I believe they did.
“Father, I joyfully thank you for the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who perished that fateful day 20 years ago. I humbly ask that you continue to strengthen, comfort, and guide the lives of their family and friends as only you can oh Lord and may your watchful eye be over them always. This I pray to you in the blessed and holy name of Your Son Jesus – Amen.”
Just as the Holy Spirit added about three thousand souls on the Day of Pentecost, so it may have been on 9/11 because though times have certainly changed, God has not. Yes, He is still in the business of extending grace to all who will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, and so the question is, have you welcomed Jesus into your life?
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Well said and excellent perspective my friend! You’re correct, there is no catching God off guard. He knew it was going to happen, 9/11, and somehow that fit into his master plan.
I proudly profess that I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior and where I will spend eternity when my time here on Earth is over. I pray that others will come to know Jesus as well. Many blessings to you my friend!
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