Years ago I read a devotional for September 2002 which reminded me of a return trip from New York earlier in the year. There were passengers travelling on the flight who made me uneasy. My uneasiness soon escalated to intense fear. I began to believe that something terrible was going to happen and I blamed myself because I wanted to fly back home to Toronto a day earlier.
The fear was suffocating and I cried out to God whose response was, “I did not bring you and your mother all this way just to have something happen to you. These people will not harm you.”
Then, I heard the words, “Peace, be still.” And a peace came over me and killed the fear that had overwhelmed me. I was so calm, that the tears went away and I was smiling. No one looking at me would have guessed what I had been going through only a moment ago. This was because Jesus’ peace was enveloping me—His peace that had the power to calm a troubled spirit in a matter of seconds as soon as I cried out to Him.
As He said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) No one, not even my mother would have been able to calm my fears. Only Jesus could have done so and He did. Fear is a powerful and unpleasant emotion but it is no match for God who is greater than anything we are struggling with. He calmed my fears and let know that He was in control. He wanted me to know that He was faithful. He had promised to take care of Mom and me while we were in New York when I expressed my misgivings about going. He wanted me to go with Mom to her brother’s funeral and I knew better than to say no to Him. He had promised that He wouldn’t let anything happen to us.
This was after September 11 so I had a phobia about going to New York. I should have known that God would keep His promise but when fear grips you it erases all rational thought. Thank God, He calmed my fears. Like David, I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4) Thank You, God.
No doubt many people were asking, where was God on September 11, 2001? I believe that God was right there:
- In the twin towers with those who managed to get out and those who didn’t.
- On the planes that crashed into the twin towers and the Pentagon.
- With the families whose loved ones were killed or missing.
- With those who were late, sick or on vacation or who decided to go for coffee or run an errand instead of going straight up to their offices.
- With the fire fighters and rescue workers as they searched through the rubble for bodies.
- With the heroes who died trying to save lives.
- With the rest of us as we tried to make sense of what had happened.
What can we learn from this tragedy?
- Tragedy can strike anytime and anywhere.
- No nation not matter how great is immune.
- We should cherish every moment with our loved ones
- Life is precious
- Life is short
- Make the most of life. Don’t take it for granted.
- It brought people together.
- It affected everyone, not just those who lost their loved ones.
- That people, if they haven’t already, need to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour, believe that He died on the cross for them, confess their sins and believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They need to be saved because they don’t know when they would be taken from this world. But, when they’re saved they don’t have to worry about where they’re going.
- That evil exists.
- That we are not alone. God is with us. He is there to help us, comfort us, heal us and strengthen us.
- That if we trust God and lean on him, He could help us through the most horrific of tragedies.
- That faith conquers terror.
- That people are willing to pitch in and help each other by giving their time, blood, food, offering their prayers, support, etc. It brought out the best in people—generosity to strangers.
- The human spirit is indomitable.
God healed a nation gripped by fear and devastation and enabled it to bounce back. As He promised, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10.