As I read, I was extremely convicted. I saw where a friend tweeted earlier today that, after seeing the images again all over the news yesterday, he finally felt the weight of that day. He said he had been in shock for the last 10 years. I think, in a way, I have been too. I was 14 on that day...sitting in World History at Sycamore High School in Pleasant View, TN. We watched the second plane hit. At 14. Of course I couldn't understand all of the implications of those events at the time. I just remember knowing it was bad.
10 years later, I realize the effect that day had on New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, PA. I'll never be able to fully empathize or understand the way it felt for the people there because I wasn't there. I know that nothing I say could ever give them the comfort that they have searched for and will continue to seek. But I can offer all that I know, and that is Jesus. Jesus is our ezer kenegdo. Our Helper. The perfect fit to any situation we may be facing. When other people have no idea what to say or do, He does and He has and He will.
In thinking about how Jesus fits into every hole left after 9/11/01, I started thinking about how Jesus would respond...based on His character, His actions recorded in the Bible, His provision in my own life... This led to the deep conviction I felt while reading the above mentioned article. In the midst of reading about families attending memorials and the words of the current President and Vice President and Former Presidents, there were these statements:
"In all, 2,753 people died on two airplanes and on the ground when the planes slammed into the World Trade Center towers, causing their collapse. That total does not include the 10 al Qaeda hijackers on board the planes."
followed later by...
"The total number of dead in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania was 2,977 people, not including 19 hijackers."
The words that broke my heart here may surprise you. While I recognize the grief associated with the huge numbers of victims, my heart aches for the parts that say "...does not include the 10..." and "...not including 19...". Why? Why aren't they included in the totals? They died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania too. It is unrealistic of me to think that the 2,977 victims were all believers. It is possible, but not probable. As a Christian, I can't help but think that some of them are probably in hell. That may sound harsh, but it's true. As an American, I can see reasoning behind a division in the dead. Victims vs Terrorists. That one's not hard. However, my allegiance is first and foremost to Jesus, and, as a Christian, I cannot fathom Him making divisions within human lives lost. My God is Love. His heart had to hurt when any of those lives ended as he saw His creation mourning and grieving. His only distinction between any of us is lost or saved.
The Bible says, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but
is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all
should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
...Not wishing that ANY should perish. That includes people who hijack planes and crash them into buildings. This is hard for me to comprehend because their actions made (and continue to make) me angry. But the Lord does not see sin like I see sin. He sees my sin as equal to their sin. He has forgiven me and removed my sin from me "as far as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12). He could've removed their sin too, if they had asked. Nothing is too big for God. No sin is too great. The only thing that sends us to hell is the rejection of the free gift offered to us in the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God.
God doesn't look at the people living on Earth and see Arabs and Anglos and Chinese and African. He sees those that are covered by the blood of Jesus and those that are not. I am so guilty of oftentimes letting my American-ness get ahead of my Christian-ness. I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God who happens to live in America. My allegiance to Christ would not change based on my geographical location. I would do well to remember that.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is
Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:12-13 )
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)