By Jack Glover
Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001? That question was asked many times this week as the nation — and the world — remembered the first anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Naturally, people gave many and varied answers. They expressed about every emotion known to man as people related where they were and how they felt upon hearing of the destruction and loss of life.
Like others, I know exactly where I was. Because of multiple sclerosis, my mornings are not my best time, so after taking a handful of medication, I’m usually trying to sit in some position of comfort, waiting for the spasms and pain to ease, watching CNN, and studying. I saw the aftermath of the first plane hit and then saw the second hit. Then came the news of the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crashes and the tower collapses. And I kept hearing God and prayer mentioned.
My mind turned to the horrible news many were going to hear about their loved ones and then to James’ statement: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (4:14). I also thought of a like statement by Solomon: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1).
How quickly our lives can change. How many people left their families Sept. 11 with a casual “see you later”? How many had plans to see a child’s school event that evening? How many left wife or husband without a kiss or “I love you,” not thinking anything about it until the opportunity was gone?
This kind of tragedy shows us what James meant when he wrote, “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that'” (4:15). God needs to be a part of our plans, an actual living, functioning part with whom we communicate often. We all need to involve Him more — by praying without ceasing, for one thing (I Thess. 5:17).
And since I heard so many talking of God and prayer on Sept. 11, I wondered why we call on and speak of Him in times of tragedy but don’t want to talk about Him at other times, like in our schools. Would it be acceptable to pray in school if a terrorist crashed an airplane into it? I was made to wonder why so many people seem to think that God is just a God for bad times. The Bible says, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22).
Yes, it was a terrible time for America on Sept. 11, 2001, and worse yet for the many who lost loved ones in the attacks. May we all learn from it that we never know what the next moment holds and make profitable use of the present.