Seth Udinski, FISM News
Twenty-one years ago today, the United States of America suffered one of its darkest days in history – September 11, 2001. We at FISM News remember and honor those who died that day.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, a group of Islamic terrorists hijacked four American commercial airplanes, full of innocent civilians. The terrorists crashed two of the planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one just before and one right after 9:00 a.m., killing everyone on board and thousands more in each skyscraper. The south tower collapsed at roughly 10:00 a.m., and the north tower followed suit at 10:30 a.m. The terrorists also crashed a third plane into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing all on board and many more in the building. Many historians believe that the fourth plane, United Flight 93, was targeting the Capitol building or the White House. In this plane, a group of courageous passengers, some of whom were Christians, fought back against the terrorists. In the struggle, the plane crashed in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
2,996 people were killed that day, including the 19 terrorists. Almost 2,800 died at the World Trade Center collapse, and almost 200 more died in the Pentagon. The 9/11 terrorist attack was the most devastating attack against civilians in American history.
When we remember this day, two theological truths come to the forefront.
The first is this – humanity is utterly wicked, and therefore utterly in need of a Savior. The men who orchestrated this horrific attack, some of whom are now standing trial at Guantanamo Bay, exemplify the very worst of human depravity. They hated the one true God, and because of this, they had no regard for human life. Their actions were based on the condition of their hearts. We as Christians rightly pray that they would receive justice. We also pray that they would come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ before it is too late. Those who do not will receive eternal justice.
We must also think soberly about ourselves. We are just as guilty before God as the men who committed this atrocity. We stand before God with nothing to prove our own innocence, because we are utterly guilty. Praise God for our substitutionary sacrifice, the Lord Jesus, who stands in our place and intercedes for us before the Father.
This leads to the second theological truth that we see from September 11 – God is a good and loving God. You might ask, “How can you say this about such a horrible event?” I say this because I believe the words of Genesis 50:20 – “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good….” This is at the core of Christianity, that God brings good from evil. And He did so on September 11.
There are countless stories of ordinary men and women in the twin towers, at the Pentagon, on the ground, in planes, and in boats around New York Harbor, who put their lives on the line to help rescue those in need. Firefighters ran up the steps of the crumbling World Trade Center towers, to certain death, to rescue those trapped on the upper floors so they could run down. Ship captains barreled across the waters of New York Harbor to evacuate the thousands of terrified New Yorkers stranded on Manhattan Island as the towers crumbled around them.
Americans were at their best. This horrible event brought our nation together in a way we have not seen since.
What is more, this tragedy brought Americans to our knees. This is often how God works – he uses great trials to bring us to an understanding of our need for Him. Often, it is in our pain and suffering that we realize, or perhaps remember, how badly we need a Savior.
In no way should we jump for joy when we ponder what happened on 9/11. But in pondering this day, it should bring us to our knees in thankfulness for the goodness of God, who walks with us as our Good Shepherd. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but we fear no evil, for God is with us.
Amen and amen. As we remember the horrors of September 11 and honor those who lost their lives, let us ponder the words of Psalm 23, a verse that many of the heroic passengers who brought down United Flight 93 recited right before they charged the cockpit. May we always remember our Good Shepherd, in whose house we will dwell forever, because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shaddow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.