On the 15th Anniversary of the September 11 Attacks
Anniversaries mark significant events in our lives. Anniversaries can be joyous occasions when we celebrate birthdays, weddings, job hiring, etc., but not all anniversaries bring us joy. Anniversaries can also be somber times when they mark events in our lives that have been particularly painful such as a death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a national tragedy.
It has been fifteen years since the unforgettable attacks on September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were when we learned of the events as they unfolded. Four planes were hijacked by terrorists and used as weapons against the American people.
As a result, approximately 3,000 people lost their lives; a countless number of people lost their loved ones; and a nation lost its sense of security. We will never know the number of people that have been affected directly or indirectly by these attacks. This anniversary has a permanent place in our collective memory.
As with all anniversaries, we each deal with the aftershocks of such events in different ways. Some people prefer to carry on with life as usual today, while others cannot keep their eyes off their television sets as they watch and relive the events of that day. Ceremonies are being held throughout the nation to commemorate the fiftteenth anniversary of September 11.
Psalm 27 speaks to an occasion such as this. The psalm opens with these words, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Although the psalmist knew nothing about the September 11 attacks, the psalmist had his own share of trials and tribulations. Even as the psalmist is under attack, he puts his faith in the Lord. Rather than blaming God for the terrible things he experiences, he looks to God for safety and security. After countless pleas for God to “be gracious and answer,” the psalmist ends the psalm by saying he will, “wait for the Lord.”
The anniversary of September 11 evokes many emotions within us: anger, grief, fear, revenge, brokenness; hopelessness, etc. How can anyone wait patiently for God in a time like this?
Psalm 27 reminds us that there will always be someone or something that seeks to wreak havoc in our lives. At times we will feel like we are being swallowed up in the destruction, but we must not let these things defeat us.
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.” The psalmist was able to remain confident because he knows that God is faithful and steadfast.
Rather than being tossed about the stormy seas, the psalmist reexamines his priorities and puts his focus on God. Focusing on God in times of turmoil does not diminish or trivialize the tremendous losses that so many have been forced to endure or the potential threats that lie ahead; rather by making God a priority, we put our faith in the One that will be steadfast and bring us through.
On this fifteenth anniversary of September 11, remember the lost loved ones and gain strength from a deeper relationship with God.