It began like any ordinary day.
It was a school day—and I was a homeschool teacher. We had chosen homeschooling because we wanted our eight and six year olds to be taught so much more than just math facts and spelling words. As I sat in my classroom, lesson plan book open, the first images of 9/11’s terrors flashing across the television screen. Within moments, the sobering reality fell—this was no ordinary day.
The lessons to be taught that day weren’t penciled on the agenda lines. They are lessons a mother knows her children must learn, but will avoid for as long as possible. The lessons of 9/11 couldn’t then—nor now—be sugarcoated. How does a mother speak truth to her children’s heart in the wake of something so big as 9/11? How does she place truth upon the scales in such a way that her children will know that no matter the circumstances, they have a God who speaks a bigger truth?
The lessons I taught my kids that day, they—and I, are still learning ten years later.
Lessons such as,
Safety is an illusion. No matter what our “safety-obsessed” society has done to convince us with seatbelts, car seats, helmets and fighter jets that we are invisible, alas we are not. Our only safety is to be found in Christ. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:35, 37-39. 9/11 woke us up to the safety we took for granted and look to a safety that can’t be broken by the terrorists of our nation or our hearts. Child, your true safety is not in your flag. Nor in your strength. But only in God’s love for you.
Evil exists in the world—not just hypothetically speaking, but for reals. I recall long before 9/11, a conversation with a girlfriend about children. She didn’t want to have kids because “there was too much evil in the world.” At the time, I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. What evil would my children have to face that would be so terrifying? No, I was going to have children and I was going to surround them with all that was good. Yet, here I was on 9/11 getting a glimpse of what my friend must have meant. I never imagined I would have to answer an eight year old’s question, “Why would God let such a bad thing happen?” I’m sorry, child, that you must know that God has an enemy whose only power is to obstruct you from seeing the beauty, goodness, and truth that is God’s glory. Let 9/11 remind you that one day this enemy will be silenced forever…there is coming a day when God will not let such bad things happen anymore.
There is no such thing as an ordinary day. Life is fragile. On 9/11 some daddy’s kissed their children goodbye for the last time. There were mommy’s whose “I love you” would echo in the empty of grieving hearts for days and months and years. Child, may the tears of that day water gratitude for every extraordinary day that is granted for you to live and to love. Don’t waste your opportunities, you never know how many more you will get. What you have today is not guaranteed for tomorrow.
In all things, God is sovereign. It’s easy to talk about the sovereignty of God, but 9/11 brings the truth home to confused hearts. God’s momentary silence is not an absence of His presence, or His power, or His eventual judgment. When the kingdoms of man are shaken, the throne of God stands established. Child, when your world crumbles to the ground into a pile of rubble, let 9/11 remind you that God is a strong tower, the righteous run to Him and are safe (Proverbs 18:10).
Today, we remember 9/11—grieving the lives lost, celebrating the heroes found, and not forgetting the lessons learned. Child, never forget.