Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

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On the day before the 10 year memorial of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the White House, I felt I needed to say something about this horrific incident.

I remember I was working out that day, lifting weights at the local YMCA gym.  There were two large televisions presenting the morning news but I was not paying attention; I was focused on my workout.  A fellow exerciser tapped me on the shoulder and said look at the screens.  What I saw over the next 10-15 minutes at the gym blew me away.  The surreal pictures of a plane crashing into one of the towers of the World Trade Center left me speechless.  The entire gym was quiet as we were all glued to the television scenes not knowing what to say or how to react to what we were witnessing.  The main thought that was expressed throughout the gym was “I cannot believe this is happening.”  I went home and my wife and I watched in horror at what occurred over the next few hours.  For weeks we continued to watch the television news as the drama unfolded.

Ten years later, most people I talk to about this incident remember what they were doing when the planes struck the towers.  Highly emotional incidents seem to have a profound effect on our memories and we retain them with much greater detail than we do living out our mundane daily routines.  I will never forget 9/11 and watching the news this week has been a good reminder of what happened.  It has helped me to pray for the survivors and to celebrate the heroism that occurred throughout the city of New York.  People risked their lives to save strangers and demonstrated to me, as individuals made in the image of God, that when pressed into a corner Americans will step up to the challenge and save others even if they lose their own lives.

You see God did a similar thing by sending his Son Jesus Christ to die for us.  A familiar passage for many is John 3:16 (NASB) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and this act was motivated by love.  The Apostle Paul expands this historic event with the words in Romans 5:6-8 (NASB) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Whereas, the lives that were heroically saved at 9/11 will all someday die, those Jesus has saved will not perish (be separated from God) but will have life everlasting.  What Jesus did on the cross provides an opportunity for everyone in the entire world to experience the joy of knowing God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and experiencing eternal life after death.

As a reminder of what happened at 9/11, I would like to share a link to a testimony of a pilot who was bumped from his assignment of flying the plane that crashed into one of the towers.  He should have been killed that day by the Islamic terrorists but instead was spared.  The events that occurred the day before 9/11 and his concluding statements are incredibly compelling.  I highly recommend watching this video as Peter Scheibner describes what it's like to have had two people die in his place, and how this has left him with an urgency to live for God's glory.  Watch video here

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