I was just finishing a meeting and stepped into my office in Columbia, Maryland. A co-worker rushed in and asked if I had seen what was happening. Just beginning the security program at our company, I was the Chief of Security
but did not have all the tools yet. The missing tool, a television in my office to monitor news. I ran down four floors to the cafeteria with my senior staff and we watched the second plane hit the South Tower. My audible response was, “We’re now at war.” About 40 minutes later, we learned one of our people was driving by the Pentagon when Flight 77 slammed into it. I thought of friends I had in that building.
The CEO immediately wanted to close all our offices (over 250 nation wide) and send everyone home. We had heard about the Pennsylvania crash and wondered what was next. I advised him it was unwise to close. They should work, stay busy, focus. The best foxhole is the one you’re in. There was no evidence attacks were being perpetrated on our offices specifically, or residential neighborhoods in general.
As the towers began to collapse I felt a great and increasing sense of national vulnerability. We had been attacked on our home turf. Like every American, I was mad. We were attacked using a commercial enterprise, a common event, one I used for business regularly. I saw a future of using our normal freedoms and resources against us. Today, I am regularly amazed at the foolish naiveté that any leader is blind to this strategy, or that chose purposefully to blind themselves. 1 John 1:5 describes this darkness. I also immediately thought of Benjamin Franklin’s warning,
Those who give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
I called a pastor friend of mine. We shed tears together on the phone, or I shed tears and he listened, not sure which. I knelt praying for all those I knew still on active duty. I knew some of the calls commanders would make and receive. I knew the majority of our military, the enlisted personnel, would be angered and confused and simply impatient to get out there and respond to these heinous violent acts.
I asked the Lord what we should learn from this. What were we to see? Judgment? So many times in scripture God used wicked Arab nations as a tool to chastise Israel. Though we are not a chosen people, was this the beginning of our judgement for all our national sins? I know, that’s not a pleasant thought, that we are sinful and deserving of judgment. Believers live this truth. We know we need a Savior. We who believe in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, in His unconditional love, His goodness, His mercy and His grace, know He will chastise us because of His perfect love and justice.
We know Deuteronomy 8:5 tells us, “as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” Other verses as well, Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” As a loving parent teaches and admonishes their child, so too a loving God can take actions to correct our national behavior.
We also know scripture tells us we should accept His judgment as Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” This too speaks of God’s fatherly love. We often forget that God’s judgement takes shape on a far more impressive scale than time outs. God’s punishment uses earthquakes, tsunami’s, hurricanes, even meteors or evil armies and terrorists.
Still, was this the case? We honestly don’t know. I humbly submit we go back to some of my first questions and consider Psalm 119:75, “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right (righteous), and that thou in faithfulness has afflicted me.” If this was judgement it shows God is just and faithful.
Today, almost 15 years later as we look back to 9/11/01 What have we learned? How have we changed to please God? Is our rebellion less or greater. Have we moved closer to or further from God?
From our law enforcement and intelligence organizations to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Marines everyone has contributed to keeping us safe. Our politicians always make things more difficult. Most of the great loss of national treasure we we’ve suffered is on the politicians hands. Still, sustaining liberty is expensive. In these 15 years we’ve suffered over 57,600 casualties. Over 6,800 lives lost.
Ladies and gentlemen, what have we learned from 9/11/01? God always works personally in every individual even when influencing whole nations. Each and every American should consider what they learned. Each of us has to apply this new knowledge in our own lives. This is not political but spiritual.
For me, I’ve learned that it is imperative to share the love of Christ with everyone. These 15 years have taught me much, namely that the answer is in Christ not man. We need all the more to share His forgiveness, His gift of eternal life, His provision for our sinfulness. There is great hate in our world, but that hate can and will be thwarted through God’s love for us. I’ve learned that I should consider where I stand with the Father through the Son. Since all pain, all destruction, all disease, all death and all judgement is due to sin, I’ve determined to do my part to make sure God is not judging this nation on my account. (1 John 2:1)