God is Our Refuge
On the ten-year anniversary of 9-11, who should we fear?
By Patti Richter
(This article is a shorter version of a feature story published recently by The Beacon in San Antonio)
We had reason to be afraid; enemies were among us. They hated our freedom and our influence in the world. And they hated us more than they loved their own lives.
The sequence of sorrowful events on the second Tuesday of September 2001 had our nation paralyzed and perplexed. By mornings’ end our shock at the catastrophes left us speechless. By afternoon nothing would have surprised us. By evening we mourned the loss of life reported—several thousands of victims of those who called evil good.
We put our children to bed with tender assurances and extra affection. But we wondered how the events would affect them, how they might change our lives.
A Pearl Harbor had visited our generation. Many of us had the same unspoken question: Why did God allow this?
In the weeks following September 11, our nation waxed prayerful and patriotic. We also grew vigilant. We would fly again, but with heightened security. We watched our troops deploy to Afghanistan. We recoiled at certain people’s accents and attire, which wasn’t right, but we were still wounded.
In New York City the magnitude of injury required huge measures of assistance. Their pleas for help continued. Many had post-traumatic stress. Memorials stretched for blocks around 17 acres of devastation. Water cannons sprayed fires that continued to burn wreckage deep below ground level—even after months.
Assurance for the future
A decade after 9-11, the consequences continue. War has taken the lives and health of too many U. S. service members. Terrorists far-off and lone wolves in our midst still seek our destruction. And just as Osama bin Laden’s death appeared to provide some closure at this anniversary mark, the subsequent loss of Navy Seals and others has blighted the sense of relief.
Like the people of New York City, we’ve cycled through stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. A crippled economy, natural disasters and societal upheavals here and abroad keep us continually on alert as a nation.
After years of setbacks, a beautiful new One World Trade Center is emerging. But, like the United States, its future identity and success remain uncertain.
Will our nation acknowledge its need for help and protection from God? Or will we rely on our own efforts?
Will we be shallowly absorbed in pain-numbing distractions of this world? Or will we immerse ourselves in the reassuring presence and promises of God?
We can respond to threats with the fear that causes our hearts to faint. Or with the reverent fear of God that brings peace.
The Lord is our fortress and deliverer (Psalm 18:2). Who should we fear? (Psalm 27:1). Christ is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17). And He is with us always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).