It was six years ago today when I received an early morning phone call telling me to go turn on my television. “What channel?” I asked. “It doesn’t matter! Any of them!” was the short reply before the phone clicked dead on the other end. My wife asked who it was and I relayed the message as I searched for the remote among too many couch pillows. It took me a couple of minutes to recognize what I was seeing and grasp the magnitude of the situation. The information overload from taking heads, bobbing cameras, and scrolling text was overwhelming to my partially awake body. That is when the second plane flew into tower two. That part I understood.
I don’t know if the word surreal can even begin to describe my feelings as the first tower collapsed. I realized it was only a matter of time before tower two followed. How many people are in there? What caused this? Is this happening anywhere else? All these question and many more raced through my mind as I sat fixated on my 25 inch television. Surely this was a mistake of some kind. An air traffic control fiasco. However, the real truth was scrolling across the bottom of the screen in bright white against the red background. Terrorists have attacked.
The pastor in me began to mentally answer the questions that were inevitably going to be asked over the next few weeks. How could God allow this to happen? Why didn’t he stop it? Did this happen because of America’s wicked living? All the while watching the reality of people jumping from buildings and pictures of ash covered New Yorkers moved across the screen. In light of this my answers didn’t even seem to satisfy my own creeping questions.
It was in the midst of this tragedy that I was finally able to admit that God not only allowed these Muslim pagans to fly planes into the Twin Towers, He ordained it. For whatever reason, that I may never know, it was in the purpose of God for September 11th, to be forever marked in the history of America. Many people searched for answers on that day, and on many days since as public or personal tragedies raise the inevitable questions. Yet, I take solace in the reality that whether I understand the reasons or not God has ordained all things whatsoever that come to pass. So ultimately I made a decision to trust that God is righteous. What he does is right.
There will be many who have far more vivid memories of September 11th, 2001 commemorating the day. Those who lost friends, family, and co-workers have more attached to this day that my morning of television watching. Some, I am sure will even today ask the question, how could a good God allow this to happen. They may listen to heretics like Tony Campolo, or lunatics like Depak Chopra. They may turn to science or philosophy for answers. They may even believe there is no hope. Either way the day will go down in memory as more than just a day of national tragedy. As for me, I will always remember it as a day God once again proved He is sovereign. He is righteous. And He is faithful.