There are MILESTONES along life's way: birthdays, life-changing accidents, children born, grandchildren born, jobs won and lost and on and on! September 11, 2001 is a milestone moment for every American living today and into the future. Life as we knew it changed forever on that day!
I grew up hearing radio recordings of President Franklin Roosevelt proclaiming "December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy"! These words were in Roosevelt's speech to the joint houses of our Congress asking for them to declare war against the perpetrator of that day: the Empire of Japan.
My father was a first year midshipman attending chapel at the United States Naval Academy that "infamous" Sunday morning. The preacher that day was Peter Marshall, then chaplain of the Senate. My dad still remembers the sermon text and Peter Marshall's comments on the text, "Why, you do not ever know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14, NIV) My dad also remembers that Peter Marshall made a motion with his hand to emphasize the vanishing nature of the mist.
[In the book Peter Marshall, Catherine Marshall (his wife) records that Dr. Marshall actually changed his sermon from his planned text to the one he used as he was driven from Washington to Annapolis, MD. Obviously that was a God thing! Only God knew what was coming that day and in days to come!]
It was later that cold December day that the news broke of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the decimation of our ships and naval forces.
We all learned the truth of James 4:14 seven years ago today when we watched transfixed on the images on our TV screens. How many times could two towers fall and how many times could those same people flee in terror from the coming apocalypse in the streets in New York?
Life as we had known it came to a screeching halt in many ways. If you don't think so, take a flight. Flying will never be the same again, and that's a necessary thing!
We should be on our knees today praying for God's mercy on our nation. We are blessed that there have been no other atrocious attacks on our own soil in these seven years. That is not due to lack of diligence on the part of the terrorists to try. It is a tribute to our wise and brave leaders who have worked tirelessly to protect us. Many, many plots have been foiled in those seven years. We now live in a wiser, more alert but very dangerous world.
God's promise is "If My people ... will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) God will keep His promise only if we ask Him to truly restore our hearts! We cannot accomplish that with wishing or social programs or trying harder. Repentance is the only path to restoration. Repentance is our only hope as a nation and as individual people!
September 11th is a day of remembrance. For all God's people, it should also be a call to prayer and repentance. September 11th is our opportunity to pray and assess and find (with God's help!) the path to a restored heart!