Lessons Learned from 9/11
Driving back to work the radio announcer's stunned words slurred over the airwaves..."Another plane! Another plane has hit the towers!" What?! What is going on?
Everyone seemed to be in auto pilot as they tuned into their radio or sat glued to the television screen. Our nation had not witnessed anything this horrific since Pearl Harbor. We were at war.
I left work at the end of the day. Nothing got accomplished, but I did manage to keep myself relatively calm. My children were home from school by then and even at their young ages, they too sensed the evil surrounding that day. A bit of their innocence had been ripped from their soul and as a mother, there was nothing I could do but sit with them and try to explain the horrific scene replaying itself over and over. At that moment, they were forced to realize that bad people do exist and horrible things can happen...but God is still in control.
Through the following days and the mounds of information flooding my thoughts, I realized that I had learned some valuable life lessons through such a tragedy.
1. Each day is a gift. Every breath I take is given to me by my Creator. I haven't done anything to earn it. God is not obligated to give me another moment on this earth, yet each day that I awaken I'm reminded that He has something for me to do...someone He wants me to touch with my words, my actions or my deeds. And, when He's finished with my time here on this planet, He will take me just as quickly as I came, and those who knew me will be reminded that my life was just a vapor in the grand scheme of things.
2. My decisions have a ripple effect. If I choose to do what is right, my choices affect those around me in positive ways. By being obedient to Christ and by allowing Him to live through me, I can bring comfort, encouragement, leadership, peace, or godly wisdom. If I choose to rebel and negate the truths of the gospel living only for myself and my ideals, then decisions I make can bring pain, heartache, division, death and war.
3. Not everyone is "good". Matter of fact, the Bible tells us that "...there is no one who does good, not even one." Romans 3:12b. The only good that is within me or you is what is put there by Christ. Each of us have the capability to do evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Those men who chose to wreak so much destruction and bloodshed on that fateful day were filled with darkness. There was no light of Christ within them. They believed the lies within their mind and acted out through the evilness of their hearts. Had Jesus not saved me, the same evil would still be dwelling within my own soul.
4. I have to do what I can to make a difference today. Todd Beamer did not realize that morning when he boarded flight 93, that he would have such a profound impact in such a short time on earth. Upon realizing the plane he was riding on had been hijacked, he and a few other passengers took it upon themselves to overcome the hijackers and crash land the plane in a field, diverting it away from its intended target in Washington D.C. His actions and final words, "Let's roll!" should be our motto. We need to always do what we can, when we can, for the glory of God and betterment of our fellow man.
5. I shouldn't claim God just during the trials, but embrace Him each and every day! Following the 9/11 events, churches were swarmed with folks seeking that peace and solace which eluded them for so long. Yet as the weeks and months went by, sadly the majority fell away again only to reappear during future tragedy. God is seeking a people whose heart is steadfast and fixed upon Him. He desires a daily, year by year, lifetime relationship, not just a fly-by-night infatuation. In His Word He promises to those who are faithful, strength for the day, guidance through the difficulties, peace within the affliction, and power to overcome. Without Him we are nothing. With Him we can withstand any evil brought against us. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble," and Psalm 33:12 reminds us that "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD." I want that, don't you?
I will never forget that day as long as I live. However, even through all of its ugliness and stain, I am reminded of the lessons I learned...If not for Christ, where would I be?