Are We Asking the Right Questions About “9/11”?

Even though I realize there may appear to be ample content concerning the 10th anniversary of “9/11”, please accept what may be a very unique point of view from The Feast of the Heart’s weekly chowfest, “The Training Table”—created to nourish Christians for running the good race (1 Corinthians 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:7).

Tweaking the Common Questions… To Reveal the Most Important Answer
The headlines of September 11, 2001 left little doubt about how people were responding to the shocking news of the terrorist attack on America. A review of those visuals and headlines can have a wildly polarizing effect (on worldviews, emotions, spirituality, love, hate, justice, knee-jerk vs. longer-term responses, etc) that can influence one’s life for a very, very long time. God allows for polarization to help prevent a lack of faith in the non-believer, or lukewarmness in the believer.

However, then things begin to settle down… and settle in… Ten years can go by very fast. What appeared to be of paramount importance then may have drifted well into the background by now. So, how does the “9/11 headline” read for you and for me today?

Did the event help us codify any “the big issues of life”? Or have we slipped back into ourselves as, “John and Jane Pragmatic”—by defining life as merely staying out of harm’s way and juggling the balls of busyness in the here and now? Is this the definition of “Joy, Peace, or Contentment” that we’ve settled for?

Especially in the most recent weeks, a great deal of the content directed at bringing our attention to the 10th anniversary of the “9/11” seems to go something like this, “Where were you on the morning of ‘9/11’”? or “How was your life changed by ‘9/11’”? or “Who were the real heroes of 9/11’”? or “Are we feeling more secure since ‘9/11’”? “How was our response appropriate, and how was it not-so-much?” And many others you have may have found to be common, relevant, or helpful.

Well, I have a question that I believe NOT ONLY merits all of our careful consideration, but (with no intention of sounding blasphemous) I believe more every day God finds most meritorious as well:

“Are You Ready for Your ‘9/11’”?

Following is a serving of ideas that I hope we chew on together:

1) The Emotional Clutter Factor. We can make a very grave (deathly) mistake (a sly deception on behalf of The Deceiver and our own emotional ambivalences) when the expected “noise, fanfare, heightened emotions, and sensationalism” occurs around the “9/11-sort of catastrophy”. The mistake? “Noise, fanfare, heightened emotions, and sensationalism” sells more media of various kinds, and “enables us to share in the experience”, BUT, amidst the media blitz and potential emotional voyeurism, the “still small voice of God” (1 Kings 19:12) is “quietly selling something” incomparably more important. Emotional noise can deafen us to God’s innumerable offers of His love and truth, found in Jesus Christ .

Be forewarned, in simply bringing up this point, I (or the likes of me) will be the target of “emotional emnity” by those who would prefer the strange solace of emotional ambivalence (albeit not a very joyful place) to the challenging yet freeing opportunities to dig down to the deeper truths (John 14:6, 16:13; Jeremiah 9:5)—the often unwrapped gifts of God freely offered in times of our suffering… no matter how small or “spectacular”.

2) Life and Death Events Occur Everyday. Not to be callous in any way, but “the terror of any terrible event” can mask a fact of life that we all have to face—or deny at our own great, present, and eternal peril—“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. A time to give birth and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15).

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Jesus Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:27-18; Genesis 3).

The many people who died in the three 9/11 tragedies were destined to die (or live) at a specific moment on that very day. This may seem very obvious, but it should elicit a larger conclusion and question, “It’s not about IF, but about WHEN and in what SPIRITUAL STATE will we die in? Connected to this truth, how will our HOPE and ASSURANCE in our eternal destiny after death, have an impact on our present quality of LIFE before we die?” The answer impacts ALL of our life.

Hopelessness creates heart disease; the good news of the Gospel restores the heart to its Garden of Eden state.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NLT). Hardened hope, or hapless hope, or misguided hope… are understood by God and covered in His plan of salvation.

3) We All Have A Life and Death Appointment on the Calendar. If “9/11” had not occurred, some working in the towers that day may have died the day of in a car accident. Others the week after by being overcome by a disease. Still others a month, a year… some decades later… may have been “appointed, destined to die” by any number of means.

So, when any number of those people did die, we could call that day, THEIR DAY—for the purposes of this missive—“Their ‘9/11’”.

My Mom’s “9/11” was “6/71”. My Dad’s, “12/01”. I’m unaware and unconcerned of when my own “9/11” will be… but I’m absolutely certain (no wish fulfillment, but God’s unbreakable promises fulfilled in Christ) where I’ll be heading when it comes— because it’s not up to me (Genesis 3:15; John 3:16; 6:37; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelations 21)! God has made the appointment, and has mercifully offered each of us either of two eternal destinations.

Heaven is secured as a gift to the repentant and faithful in Christ; the doors of hell are locked from the inside—God will ultimately give us the desires of our heart, even if they include turning our back on Him until the moment we arrive at our “’9/11 appointment” (Matthew 12: 31-32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10). When it will be too late.

If there is one thing I can promise you it is that God “desperately” (He’s at peace with His plan) wants us to get settled it is this, “Are We Ready for Our ‘9/11’”?

Are we preared enough to tell someone exactly how we are ready—and still make a modicum of sense? (E.g., “all roads lead to the same god”, “I’m not as bad as Hitler or good as Mother Tersea”, “twelve vestal virgins for me”, “evaporating into nothingness sounds fulfilling”, “I’d rather be a higher form of cow anyway”, “who are you to say what is true”, “if God only knew how bad I really am…”, won’t cut it…) Not because I say so, these sorts “religious ideas” (man reaching out to God) simply don’t make any sense.

“And Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:27-33). Please be prepared to answer the very same question WELL BEFORE “your 9/11” occurs. Putting it off “so I can have some fun before I commit” is a really bad epitaph!

Is there a possibility that we have refused to believe that there is a day that we are each appointed to die, and, at that moment, we will be destined for heaven or for hell (as Jesus warned more than any other person, Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 11:23; 16:8, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 10:15, 12:5,  16:23)? Sure! But today is a great day to get things right!

4) The War on Terror Has Already Been Won! Understandably, there is merit to memorializing the anniversary of “9/11”. But please make no mistake, beloved of God, Jesus Christ has made a way (the Way, Truth and Life, Mark 16:6; Acts 2:38; Romans 1:16) that is secured and assured by God’s promises of taking ALL the terror out of dying, placing ALL the purpose into living, and covering ALL the existential pain of losing a loved one…

Yes, there is a deep, dark valley of sadness and shower of tears that we all must walk through in death. BUT (to the godzillionth power), there is the promise of glory, a renewed Eden perfection, and eternal joy when we KNOW (amongst other things, that Jesus Christ’s blood atonement on the cross and His resurrection are historical facts) that a loved one is with God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the community of Saints for all eternity!

Whether we will admit it, or realize it, or not, losing a loved one, with an uncertain eternity, COMPOUNDS THE PAIN manyfold!

I wonder who each of us know WHO was appointed to die; WHO died in Christ; and WHO now stands face-to-face in heaven, glory everlasting… and joyfully waiting for the arrival or his or her FAMILY—God’s children who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ?

Can anyone offer a witness to “the bitter-sweet tension” of shedding tears intermingled with the deepest sadness AND highest joy as we deeply miss a loved one WHILE being assured he or she is now ecstatically whole, complete, and divinely fulfilled in every way?

Since God controls all things, I completely trust Him in allowing “2,976 ‘9/11’s’” (the total number of people who died) to occur.

I fully understand and deeply appreciate that each of these people were cherished by God, unique, surrounded by family and friends, were heroes, and all the rest… but not all saved unto a faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and the Lord of their life. It’s not too late for the living!

5) Memorialize, but Don’t Stay Stuck in the Past. Just as Jesus lovingly exhorted the man who preferred to go to a funeral—but was only making excuses for not being willing to turn, to repent, and to follow Jesus—please hear His words afresh today,  “Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead” (Matthew 8:22). The way, the truth, and the life is for the living!

As in my own personalization of this offering… My Mom’s sudden brain tumor-related death in June of 1971, and/or my Dad’s tragic suicide on Christmas night 2001, God infinitely, mercifully, and intimately orchestrates the spoils of sin man created as one of the means of carrying out His eternal, and marvelously long-suffering redemptive plan: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, THAT whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16—emphasis added).

Please consider, we either need to get the business of our eternal destiny before the God of Perfect Love and Justice, or celebrate it’s completion, “TODAY…” (Psalm 96:7-8)!

A guilty conscience is all-consuming; being right with God creates a humbly confident heart the world will never understand.  “The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions” (Proverbs 28:1, The Message)

Commemorate “9/11 lives and deaths”—each day—by speaking to someone about your own assurance of salvation. Additionally, speak the truth in love to others who may not know the truth and have not been set free to fully live each day… for all eternity.

Have Peace: Knowing that the WORST the sting of a “natural death”, or the unlikely death at the hands a terrorist, can do is nothing more than usher the faithful into The Everlasting Arms of Jesus!

There is no terror left to expel from the heart of The Beloved.

“Are You Ready for Your ‘9/11’”?


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