10 Verses to Guide Our Reflection on the Painful Events of 9/11
It’s the anniversary again of 9/11. A day marked by shock, terror, sorrow, and tremendous loss, where we remember the devastating terrorist attacks against America that deeply impacted our nation. Because Scripture helps us put a godly perspective on life events, here are 10 Bible verses to share with your family as you remember 9/11.
It's once again the anniversary of 9/11. A day marked by shock, terror, sorrow, and tremendous loss, where we remember the devastating terrorist attacks against America that deeply impacted our nation.
Statistics report that 2,977 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001, in New York City, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at the hands of Islamic extremists who hijacked four commercial airliners, carrying out suicide attacks against the United States.
Megan Scheibner’s husband, Steve, was the pilot originally scheduled to fly American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, MA, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. But a last-minute bump off the flight by a senior pilot spared his life that day.
She writes, “We all, as a nation, have our memories of that day; memories stamped into our subconscious because of the enormity of that major life event. Memories of a major life event that continues to shape our homes, our nation, and in fact, our world.”
Here are 10 Bible verses to remember 9/11 through the lens of His word:
1. Remember with Respectfulness:
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15)
In remembering 9/11, it’s important to respectively consider those who are suffering, as if we are suffering with them (Hebrews 13:3).
A friend of mine was the daughter of one of the five missionaries slain in Ecuador by the Auca Indians back in 1956. It was an event that shook the Evangelical world, reported worldwide and recognized as martyrdom for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Although people probably thought they were being encouraging to my friend, they said things to her like “How wonderful to have a father who was martyred for the Gospel.”
But it wasn’t wonderful for her. It was a very personal, traumatic incident that left her fatherless, and deeply impacted her life.
2. Remember with Compassion:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
We are able to remember 9/11 with compassion, offering the comfort we’ve received from God when we’ve experienced trouble, to those around us (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Although a rare last minute crew change put someone else in the pilot’s seat of the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, Steve Scheibner’s wife writes in her book In My Seat: A Pilot’s Story from September 10-11, “Suddenly, the gravity of the situation began to hit home. The planes that went down were ones that Steve had flown; the pilots and crewmembers whose lives were taken in an unthinkable moment were more than coworkers; they were Steve’s friends.”
Feelings of relief for her own husband’s safety also brought God’s deep compassion for those around her who were grieving.
3. Remember without Fear:
“In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11)
In remembering 9/11, be careful not to stir up anxious, fearful, and distressful feelings, because Jesus urges us to not be afraid of those who kill the body (Matthew 10:28).
Although increasing violence in the world causes many to feel vulnerable, God doesn’t want us to be afraid or to live fearfully, but rather to, “Have no fear of sudden disaster” (Proverbs 3:25).
Despite trouble happening all around us, Jesus says we can walk in His peace. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
4. Remember by Trusting God:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
We can remember 9/11 with trust in God, believing even though we make plans in life, it’s the Lord who establishes our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
By keeping our hearts steadfast and trusting in Him (Psalm 112:7), even in the worst-case scenarios where it doesn’t look like any good thing could ever possibly come from them, we can trust God. “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” (Romans 8:28).
5. Remember with Assurance of God’s Presence:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
Many may feel like God abandoned those caught in the 9/11 attacks, but Hebrews 13:5 assures us that God will never leave us or forsake us, even in horrific and devastating events like 9/11. God did not abandon those trapped in the attacks.
During life-threatening situations like 9/11, we can be assured of God’s presence in the midst of it. Acts 7:55 describes a Christian who came under such attack. “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
Like Stephen, we can look to God being assured, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4).
6. Remember with God’s Promise:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25)
Although lives were tragically taken away, we can remember 9/11 with a promise, understanding all who lost their lives knowing Christ passed from this life to eternal life.
Scripture promises us, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Nothing, not even death, can separate us from God’s love. As Romans 8:38, 39 explains, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Those who were killed on 9/11 knowing Christ, have received His promise of John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The Apostle Paul explained it well in Philippians 1:21, stating, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
7. Remember with Purpose:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)
Megan Scheibner writes, “The anniversary of September 11th brings back painful and troubling memories, but it also brings me a yearly reminder. A reminder of the clarion
call I’ve received that beckons me to live this life on purpose; to leave it a better place than when I found it.”
Like Psalm 90:12 encourages, we can ask God to, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
8. Remember with Forgiveness:
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34)
As Christians it’s important for us to forgive those who committed the 9/11 attacks. Still, forgiving in no way condones their actions.
Their violent acts reveal how, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Recognizing this spiritual blindness, American Minute Historian William J. Federer explains, “An important concept to understand is that fundamental Islam is a religion of peace, but their definition of ‘peace’ is different than ours. In the West, ‘peace’ is achieved when different groups get along. In sharia Islam, ‘peace’ is achieved when the whole world submits to the will of Allah. In other words, world peace means world Islam.”
9. Remember by Reaching Out:
“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21)
“Thankfully, God, in His sovereignty, can convert even radical Muslims,” writes Jerry Newcombe in his book American Amnesia, noting estimates say more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus since 9/11 than in the last 1400 years.
As Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Like wives of the missionaries slain by the Aucas responded by reaching out to those who had murdered their husbands, leading many to Christ, we have the opportunity to reach out to Muslims with the hope of leading them to faith in Jesus Christ.
10. Remember by Recognizing God’s Justice:
“But let the one who boasts, boast about this: that they have the understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight’” (Jeremiah 9:24)
As Christians, we remember 9/11 by recognizing God will bring justice to the world, making all things new (Revelation 21:5).
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Because God is just, He directs us to not seek revenge but to trust Him to one-day make all things right (Romans 12:19).
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Ged Lawson