Thirteen

Thirteen years ago today, just under an hour ago at 8:46 AM, the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center – North Tower.  Not even 20 minutes later, at 9:03 AM, the second plane struck the South Tower.  Thirty-four minutes later, at 9:37 AM,  the third plane struck the Pentagon.

At 9:59 AM, the South Tower suddenly collapsed.

Eight minutes later the passengers on United 93 made contact with friends and family because the plane they were on had been hijacked as well.  They resolved after hearing about the tower collapse that they had to try.  They stormed the cockpit and in the process of trying to retake the plane, caused the terrorists in control to drive that plane into the ground in rural Pennsylvania.

I have stood in that field with my oldest son, who is not yet old enough to know why that field is now a national memorial.

What we have to recognize is what I knew thirteen years ago today, what I knew when I stood on that granite path in a remote Pennsylvanian field, and what I know each and every day when my feet hit the floor in the morning. Evil exists in the world.  It seeks ways to destroy us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Evil will find big and small ways to rend us.  It will bring down buildings and kill thousands in a moment, or it will destroy a single life at a time through a violent attack by a deranged person.  It will tear a family apart through strife, division, and pride.

There are two things that I knew thirteen years ago today, and each year I remember and renew my commitment.

Firstly, above all else, God is in control.  Evil can do it’s damage in the here and now, but the Creator of all things is above it all.  All that evil can do to me with Christ as my king and savior is kill me.  My temporal body can be struck down, but that is all evil can do to me.  It has finite power.  My faith in my God allows me to state the second thing I knew with assurance.  You and I must confront evil when it exists in the world.  When it comes to evil whether physical or spiritual, we are the first responders.  Everyone else shows up after the fact to just help clean up the mess left.

We must throw ourselves headlong at hijackers on a plane flying over Pennsylvania en route to Washington DC.

When I looked at my son walking and running about that solemn place full of joy, love, and hope, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what happened there that day.  I knew when I watched him what I knew back thirteen years ago and firmly resolve today.  I knew then how God must have felt sending Christ to Earth to suffer and die to complete the promise of salvation.

When evil attacks, and it will, I will be there. I will not ride and hide.  I will fight with His strength confident in His promise to me that if I should fall, He will raise me up.  Evil can not win.

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10-12

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