20 years … hardly seems possible. Yesterday, at work, several of us in the office that I work in were talking and answering that question, “Where were you?” One answered, “Mowing my lawn.” Another, “Giving my 2 year old a bath.” Someone else, “At the grocery store.” Yet another, “Right here in this very office, working.” And the one that really got us all, “I was born … on September 13, 2001, two days after the attacks!” Me? I was at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, KY, in an elevator, when I heard the news. America, on our own soil, was under attack! Like the rest of you, my day stopped, and I spent most of the rest of the morning in front of the television.
I watched the events unfold with great sadness. At the time, I was working in the banking and finance industry and I was very familiar with the World Trade Center and many of those who worked in it. I sat, somewhat in shock, and watched and listened to the coverage of this event. Somewhere around 2:00 PM, I decided to go for a walk by myself. I was walking and praying and thinking and remembering. I came upon a bench and I sat down, leaned my head back, shut my eyes for a few moments and listened. The silence was eerie. The airport was right behind the hotel I was staying in and had gone silent as all flights were grounded. However, that eeriness soon turned to calm as a slight breeze blew and it was almost as if I could hear God say, “Hey, I am still here and it may be tough now but I am still in control.”
The next few days were tough and the news was tougher. News of the deaths of friends and associates, news of destruction and, of course, hundreds of rumors, came from phone calls and television screens. On September 14, Billy Graham addressed the nation from the National Cathedral in Washington DC. In that address he said, “We’ve seen so much that brings tears to our eyes and makes us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.”
It was true. Over the weeks and months that followed we, as a nation, felt many things. Suffering, sadness, patriotism, anger, fear and yes, at least for the christians, hope. We were reminded with a stark reality that we live in a sin-sick world, but we also reminded ourselves that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind and He took upon Himself all of our burdens, all of our sorrows, all of our fears, all of our questions about the future and He replaced them with hope!
Billy Graham would go on to say later in his address, “For the christian, the cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took them upon Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. From the cross, God declares, ‘I love you. I know the heartache and the sorrow and the pain that you feel. But I love you'”
Now, twenty years later we face a world that is far different from what it was on that day in 2001. Over the past twenty years there have been many things that have happened that we likely do not agree with. The United States of America is still standing, somewhat injured and hurt perhaps, but it is still standing. One thing has not changed in twenty years and that is that God is still in charge. Oh, we may wonder at times and we may shake our heads in disbelief at the things going on today in our beloved country, but I am reminded of the line in an old gospel song that says, “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.”
Jesus is our foundation and anything worth building will be built on that foundation. I want to close with one more quote from Billy Graham, “Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now, we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation; or to choose to become stronger through all of this struggle, to rebuild on a solid foundation.” I believe this quote still rings true today. It’s a choice we all have to make daily. None of us know what is ahead for this country or for us individually, but, if you know Jesus as your Savior, you know how this story ends and you can rest peacefully in that promise of hope.
Written By: Scott Evans
Board Member and Media Director
Final Harvest, Inc.