Twelve years ago today my country was attacked on its own soil. Twelve years ago today terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and had one crash in a field in Pennsylvania. Twelve years ago today my world and yours was changed.
We watched in horror as we saw specks floating off the side of the Twin Towers. We were chilled to the bone when we realized that those specks were people. We trembled as we watched the towers collapse over and over as the scene was replayed on our television screens.
Twelve years ago today we wondered who "they" were. We questioned who we were supposed to fear and hate. We desired a face to the enemy because we were angry.
We soon were filled with patriotism, national unity and a communal desire for revenge. We cheered out loud or in our hearts when on a pile of rubble George W. Bush said as he responded to a rescue worker who shouted that he couldn't hear the president, "I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people... the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"
I remember twelve years ago feeling lost and confused. "Where was God on September 11th?" was the question of the hour.
I remember huddling for a few people at Fairview Baptist Church praying that day. I don't remember what we prayed but I remember the church seemed to be the only logical place to go that evening.
So, to this day the questions are, "Where was God on September 11th, 2001?" and "Why did God let this happen?"
I can't tell you why God let thousands of people die on September 11th, 2001 or recently in Syria or for the last several years in Darfur for that matter. I can't answer why God lets tragedies occur.
I can, however, answer the question of "where was God on September 11th, 2001?"
God was on His throne ruling. God wasn't surprised by the attack. He wasn't scrambling trying to figure out what was going on down here. God wasn't overpowered by fear. God was on His throne in charge of the universe and He's there today, too.
That is a comforting and a scary thought. It's comforting because my God is reigning and He is doing things for His glory and my good. It's scary because somehow even the tragedies of 9/11 fit in that realm of "things". Even with God enthroned in heaven life will not be easy or even pleasant sometimes. I'm left having to trust God even when everything hurts. That is faith and that is why faith is so hard sometimes.
I'm sorry the answer to the question doesn't seem like "...and they lived happily ever after." But I'm glad God was on His throne on that day. I'm glad because I'd rather follow a God who is always in control than a god who desires things to be easy but can't do anything about it at times. I just need to trust that my God who is in control is also the God who says He does all things for His glory and our good even when we can't figure out how.
Take time today to remember those who lost their lives twelve years ago today. Take time to pray for those who are still living without a loved one. And remember that God is on His throne today.