Originally published Wednesday, 11 September 2013.
As I sit here, reflecting on the day our country was attacked twelve years ago, everything I want to write down feels so cliché.
September 11th, 2001 rocked the very soul of every American person.
I want to write about the pain and the loss that far too many families had to face as they lost a loved one that day.
I want to write about the sacrifice and incredible bravery that the firemen, police officers, soldiers, and every person showed in the midst of such tragedy.
I want to write about vengeance and strength, and how American resolve was not formulated on the basis of fighting back, but rather picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and choosing to stand for who we were founded upon: God.
I want to write about the affect that this attack had on our everyday lives that day and how it has completely changed the course of American history.
But truthfully, I do not know how to accurately describe such feelings. Or events. Or heroes. Or tragedy. Or bravery.
As I laid in bed this morning, I felt as though I should write about something that really is not even of my choosing and it is this:
Suffering, in this world, will always be very real.
Tragedy will occur.
Lives will be altered based on thoughtless actions by others.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a world where the things that happen to us are always things that we choose.
Obviously the attack on the United States that day was something that no American even knew to fear or worry about, because who would think to do such evil?
I think we always hear the question: “Where is God in a time like this?”
My answer to that: He was the one giving the firemen the strength to pull children from the rubble.
He was the one who provided peace to the father on the plane who knew that he would not be going home to greet his wife that night.
He was there, in the thick of it.
I am not sure where we have gotten the thought that when we suffer, God is removed (me included here).
Maybe because the pain feels so real and hurts so deeply, that a good and loving God can’t possibly be near to us?
I am not foreign to this feeling of thinking God is distant when my life feels in shambles and my heart is overwhelmed to the point where it physically feels pain.
I did not lose a family member during 9/11, but I can remember as if it were yesterday, the desperation and hurt that covered the faces of some of those interviewed.
I could not understand.
“GOD. WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW??? DO YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING DOWN HERE? “ is what I wanted to say.
Feeling absolutely helpless and powerless, because I was.
And I think He heard that question loud and clear that day, probably more times that we can count.
Years later, as I reflect on what I think He would say, it would be this:
“See? Do I see?
Of course I see. I created these precious people whose lives were taken.
Believe that I do see.
I weep for my children.
Because the smoke clouds the air, I know you feel as though life is too much for you or your brothers and sisters who lost their mothers or fathers.
Your feelings are warranted, My child.
Your pain is deep and your understanding is not what I expect at this moment.
But I am God.
There is nothing I can not restore and no person I can not redeem.
Justice lies in My hands and I will take care of those who have wronged you; do not make that your task.
I do not expect you to stand strong without me.
I only ask that you fall into My arms and let me wrap you in My peace, clothe you in My comfort and remind you that I am near.
Do not listen to the enemy saying that I am in some distant land removed from my people; I am always with you.
Don’t you remember My promise, right before I left to go back to be with my father in Heaven?
I told you, I will be with you ALWAYS.
I love you.
I love the people of this country.
Do not worry about the rubble that covers the streets or the tall twin towers that collapsed at your feet for I can rebuild everything.
I will use this for the good, even though it was meant for evil.
More reliable than the flag of the United States of America is the banner of Love I have placed over you and those around you.
Suffering is real, but My glory will be revealed.
Hold onto me, my child.
Stand on My promises and trust that I know what I am doing and I am not distant from you.
While you cry, I will hold you and wipe your tears and we will move forward.
Feel your feelings, that is okay.
But trust that I am right here and you are not suffering alone.”
Truly, I think that is what He said to each of us, in our own way, in our own time.
And twelve years later, we have moved forward.
We have restored.
And Jesus was always near.
Is life the same?
Well, it never is after suffering.
Pain is meant to shape us and loss is destined to hurt us.
But our resolve is deeper because our faith is greater than our circumstances.
As we celebrate the lives of those lost on this day in our history, those who fought to aid their brothers and sisters and those who continue to stand so that we may live freely, I sincerely thank you.
May you know that God is never far away.
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:20