The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, started out like any other. It was a beautiful day. My husband and I were newly married and getting ready for work. I happened to have “The Today Show” on our tiny television set when the first plane struck one of the Twin Towers.
It seemed like an accident. Surely, it was nothing more than a terrible mistake. Then the next plane hit the World Trade Center and of course we knew — America was under attack.
In 2001, there were no smartphones. Internet was limited. There was nothing to do but go to work. My co-workers and I huddled around a radio as we listened to the terror unfold. A plane flew into the Pentagon — then the first tower in New York fell. In that particular moment in time, it truly felt like the world was coming to an end. We didn’t know if planes would fall from the sky, if bombs would detonate, if the catastrophe would spread to our own front doors. Another plane crashed — this one in Pennsylvania — and then the second tower fell.
It’s hard to remember the “before” now. There has been more than a decade of war, thousands of lives lost, and so much bitter political bickering over strategy. But now, on the 16th anniversary of 9/11, we must not forget the emotions of that day. There was fear, desperation, anger, and confusion — but America also experienced strength, unity and faith.
In the past month alone, America has faced catastrophic hurricanes and a serious threat from North Korea. Our future seems to be in constant jeopardy, whether by force of nature or strength of men. Yet trouble is nothing new. And although there is a great deal to fear, God reminds us He is in control. He always has been, and He always will be.
In Isaiah 44:8, God declares, “Do not tremble; do not be afraid … Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses — is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock — not one!”
God tells His people to not be afraid simply because He is God. There is no threat, no power, no person who can snatch one of His children away. Ever. There is no circumstance that can pull God’s authority away. God has a plan — He has always had an eternal plan — salvation and restoration.
As comforting as God’s power is, it is easy to doubt it when terrible things happen. Thoughts of fear creep in; we wonder if maybe God forgot. Maybe His love isn’t absolute. Maybe His power is limited.
The same God who brought the Hebrew people across the Red Sea, rescuing them from slavery, oppression, torture and terror, sent His one and only Son. He does not promise a life without trouble. Jesus, in fact, says in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus tells His followers plainly that there is trouble ahead. As long as this world exists, broken with sin and burdened by separation, there will be trouble. There will be trial and tribulation. But Jesus has overcome this world. The sorrow is real, but it is also temporary.
Christians know God still reigns. His love is unending.
The same Savior who encouraged all Christians, past and present, with His promise of victory now sits at the right hand of God. His Spirit lives in our hearts. His peace passes all understanding. When darkness approaches, hope seems to be extinguished, terror takes hold — remember the words of Almighty God: “Do not be afraid. Have peace. I have overcome the world.”
No matter what today or tomorrow or any appointed day in the future brings, Christians know God still reigns. His love is unending. His plan prevails both now and forever.
Katie Nations, married for 15 years, is a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
(photo credit, homepage and article images: 9/11 Photos, Flickr)