The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3
I was at my desk in the bank when someone popped their head in and asked if I had heard about a plane crashing into a New York tower. It sounded strange to hear it. Surely they were mistaken. How could that happen? We all gathered around a 32-inch TV in the break room watching grey smoke billow out of the World Trade Center tower. I remember thinking: how could someone make that kind of flight error, and how many had paid the price with their lives? As I debated with others over what might have happened, all doubt was removed when one of the ladies gasped and covered her mouth, her eyes glued to the screen. We all turned back to the television as smoke billowed from the second tower. The news anchor looked visibly shaken as he reported another plane had hit the second tower.
In that moment, all of us in that room — along with all of our fellow Americans — knew this was deliberate, an obvious attack of terror. The worst was yet to come, though, as reports came in that the Pentagon was hit and another plane had crashed on what appeared to be a direct route to Washington D.C. I remember thinking, what else is going to happen? Then, maybe the most devastating moment of all, watching the first tower collapse into a pile as a massive cloud of smoke rushed down the streets. Soon, the second tower collapsed.
It was all so surreal. It just didn’t seem possible. I felt so helpless watching it. My firstborn was nine days old. What kind of world have I brought my daughter into?
Reality hit, smack in the face, as the facade of safety was ripped from us — we were vulnerable to terror, even on our own soil. The response of Christians varied. Some insensitively pronounced this as an act of judgment upon America by God. Others lashed out with hateful rhetoric towards all Muslims. Many just tried to figure out where God was in all of it.
Someone wrote a poem. We don’t know who as the author was never credited. I think the words capture perfectly where God was in this tragedy.
“MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL” (author unknown)
You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001.
Neither will I.
I was on the 110th floor in a smoke-filled room with a man who called his wife to say ‘good-bye.’
I held his fingers steady as he dialed.
I gave him the peace to say, “Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK. I am ready to go.”
I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children.
I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn’t coming home that night.
I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help.
“I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!” I said. “Of course I will show you the way home – only believe in Me now.”
I was at the base of the building with the Pastor ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.
I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer.
I was with the crew as they were overtaken.
I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their
faith has saved them.
I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan .
I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.
Did you sense Me?
I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name – though not all know Me.
Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.
Some sought Me with their last breath.
Some couldn’t hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; “Come to Me… this way… take my hand.”
Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.
But, I was there.
I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do.
However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?
Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you.
But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well.
Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are ‘ready to go.’
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.
Where were you on 9/11 when the towers fell? Did you hold steady in faith that God was still loving? Did you trust Him even though you couldn’t make sense of the tragedy?
For His children, God doesn’t create tragedy, but He is always in the midst of it to see us through… even if it is to Glory.