God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea…
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved…
Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
9/11/01. Nineteen years ago. Many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. Hijacked airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We would learn later that 2,977 people were killed.
I was at work at my orthopedic office and, honestly, the thought crossed my mind that it may be the end of the world. I remember such a sense of unreality and shock and fear. We were all desperate to speak to our families and loved ones and be assured that they were safe. The phone systems were overloaded or offline because of the volume of calls. The feelings of fear and anxiety and uncertainty weighed heavy. We were all gathered around T.V.’s trying to comprehend what had just happened.
After the collapse of the second tower, I was gripped by a sense of urgency to tell people of God’s faithfulness and presence. I had the thought “Jesus may appear in the clouds soon and I want everyone to be ready!” With the help of some dear other believers in the office, we gathered everyone together in the waiting room—physicians, staff, and patients and we led the whole group in prayer. In those moments of fear and vulnerability, hearts were turned to God.
I remember quoting the above Psalm. We felt God’s presence in that room that day. The chaos and circumstances around us did not change but His peace grounded us. In the days that followed, I had follow-up conversations about God with several friends from work that ended up with them starting to come to church. They wanted to know God more and find His peace.
On that date, September 11, 2001, we were attacked by terrorists from another country. Today we find ourselves at war from within our own country: racial pain and tensions, political upheaval and natural disasters are wreaking havoc. Are you feeling, as I am, that same sense of vulnerability and unreality and shock? 2 Corinthians 7:5 reminds us about conflicts without and fears within. As the people of God, we need to keep our hearts in the love and presence of God and know how to share that love with others. I keep thinking that it is no mistake that each of us is alive “for such a time as this.” You may be struggling through hard times right now. Take heart. “Wait for the Lord. Be Strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)
We know that we will all face many troubles during our time on this earth. But God has a plan for us in the midst of all of our struggles and battles. God promises to be with us. He is intimately involved with us. He has a plan to work it all for your good. Stay connected to His word, His promises and His Presence through prayer. He is with us and He is the hero of our story. He is faithful and trustworthy and many of those around us need to know Him.
Susie Larson’s words remind me of our faithful God. “In the midst of our not-yet seasons and times of heartbreak and disappointment, we must remember that there are aspects of our story that are significantly important to the greater story God is writing on the earth today—things that though we can’t see with our eyes right now—are nevertheless in motion in the heavenly realm to bring about the purposes of Almighty God.”
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