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Remembering 9/12

Psalm 46


God is our refuge…a very present help!

Yesterday was 9/11, and today is 9/12.  This weekend we remembered 9/11 for the 20th time, as we should.  But I believe God wants us to remember 9/12, and how we woke up different that day.


Some events in human history impact us so greatly that we will forever have engraved in our minds where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. I’ll never forget that I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom when we heard the news that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded on its ascent.  Many here know just where they were when they heard that the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  And you have very clear memories of 9/11.  Where were you?


Every time we watch that footage we relive it.  How many can feel it the same right now as we did that day?  We said, "Never forget," and most of us never have.  But it seems that America at large has forgotten, politicians have forgotten, but the terrorists remember it well, and continue to celebrate right where it all begin in Afghanistan, with the Taliban in control, with our blessing, and led by their guys we released from Gitmo in exchange for the deserter Bo Bergdahl.  We need to go back to 9/12...but instead, we're back to 9/10 in our thinking.  How can we avoid another 9/11 that is looming?


Remember our unity on 9/12?  We were all Americans.  We went back to church.  We celebrated our freedom and had a revival of morals.  We once again saw the value of life, and wanted to stand against evil.  I miss that America!  Our nation is being flushed down a liberal toilet at breakneck speed.  But just as I start to become overwhelmed with discouragement over it all, my Lord spoke to my heart:  Jerry, you know where you were 20 years ago, but don’t forget where you really are right now, today…which is safe in MY hands, not in the hands of any politician, political party, or subject to man-made mandates or fear tactics.  The church will roll on, obeying God rather than man if necessary.  We, the people, are in control.  There’s more of us, than them.  And with our Lord, we are in good hands!


We are facing giant problems.  It’s truly a Goliath we have to fight.  So let’s be David!  When others saw a shepherd boy, God saw a king!  And when Saul as well as David’s brothers doubted how he could face the giant David gave them a history lesson.  He told them about the time he faced a lion and a bear in the past, and how God was with him.  And he never forgot.  David later said in Psalm 103:2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”


Goliath had no respect for David, and mocked him.  Our government feels the same way about us today.  So like David, we must now respond, “You may have the sword and spear in your hands, but I come in the name of the Lord!”


David never forgot what God had done.  May we never forget.

Over 40 times the Bible reminds us of how God parted the Red Sea for Israel to escape the Egyptians.  God doesn’t want for us to forget.  Remembering His goodness in the past encourages us for the future.


Today I want to ask and attempt to answer some questions that no doubt have puzzled so many since that horrific day 20 years ago:  How can this happen on our own soil, and why are we inviting them to return and do something even worse?  Where were we on 9/11 and where was God on 9/11, and where were we on 9/12 and where are we today?

“Where was God on 9-11?”…

1. The same place He was when Adam rebelled in Eden – He was waiting to cover his sin. (Gen 3)
Where was God when man first raised his ugly head of defiance and rebellion? Couldn’t He have stopped it before it began? Oh, it is not a matter of whether or not He could have. It is a matter of His design for humanity and His plan of redemption. He designed us with a freedom of choice. In His sovereign foreknowledge He made provision before the world was ever created for man’s redemption; knowing full well that man would make disastrous choices from the beginning. When Adam and Eve finally “fessed-up”, He was there with a covering for their nakedness and shame; exacting the ultimate punishment on an innocent sacrificial victim to cover man’s sin. But, He was there!

“Where was God on 9-11?” …

2. The same place He was when Noah built an ark – protecting him from disaster. (Gen 6-9)
Sadly, man’s rebellion did not end with Adam and Eve. Their sons, and their son’s sons for every generation followed in their rebellious path. Until such time that the wickedness of man filled the whole earth and its stench rose as an offence to the Holiness of God. Yet in the midst of such ungodliness, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen 6:8). Here was a man, not perfect, but righteous…a man who faithfully proclaimed the righteousness of God. (2 Pet 2) And when God, grieved by man’s wicked rebellion, determined to wipe man from the face of the earth, He furthermore determined to spare Noah and his family, and from their stock re-populate planet earth. So in mankind’s greatest natural disaster, God was on His throne protecting His own.

“Where was God on 9-11?” …

3. The same place He was when Job lost everything he had {except his nagging wife} – proving Himself to be God despite unfortunate circumstances. (Job 1-2)
Just as Noah’s generation experienced earth’s greatest natural disaster, Job would surely rank among the top in man’s history as experiencing the greatest personal disaster. Again we see a man, a good man, a godly man standing for what is right and hating what is wrong. Did being “blameless and upright” immune Job from problems, or even disaster? Of course not! Job lived on a planet that at times experienced natural disasters such as tornados, earthquakes and fire. There were evil men in his day, too, who were willing to kill and steal to get what they wanted. And, he became the special target of Satanic fury. As a result, Job lost everything of value; even his precious children. Where was God? Had He turned His back on Job? Would Job respond in kind by turning his back on God? No! No! and NO! God had not deserted Job. And Job would not curse God, even though he was urged to do so by a less than faithful wife.
Where was God when Job was losing all? Where was He when Job’s children were killed? Where was He when Job’s flesh was wracked with pain? Job maintained his integrity and recognized that it was God’s prerogative to give and take, and it was his duty to “Bless the name of the Lord.”  And in the end God was there giving him double of all he had lost!

“Where was God on 9-11?” …

4. The same place He was when Abraham lapsed in faith – safeguarding the fulfillment of His promise. (Gen 12-15)
It might be successfully argued that today’s struggles with radical Islamic fundamentalism are traceable to this unfortunate incident in Abraham’s life. Abraham, the father of the faithful, had left his homeland at the prompting of his God and gone to a land that was to be given to his descendents after him. There was a slight problem, though. He had no descendants. He had a beautiful wife, lots of servants, and many possessions, but no descendants. How would God fulfill his promise? How could He? Abraham was already an old man. Sarah was well past the years of child bearing. Did God need a bit of help? Along comes Hagar. She was young, and her womb fertile. It was not uncommon in his day to find a surrogate mother to bear a child for a barren wife. Maybe God did need some help. There’s nothing wrong with helping God out, is there? God does His part, and we have to do ours. So, to Abraham and Hagar is born a son, Ishmael, father of the modern Arab states and Islam. Not the son of promise. That distinction was to be reserved for Isaac, whom Sarah would eventually bear to Abraham when he was 100 years and she was 90.


Isaac was the child of promise, and from him sprang Israel, and if we bless Israel, God will bless us!

“Where was God on 9-11?” …

5. The same place He was when Joseph was rotting in jail – accomplishing His perfect will. (Gen 37-50)
If ever anyone was misunderstood and ill treated, it was Joseph. If ever anyone suffered wrongly, it was Joseph. Yet with all his hardships, problems and abuse, Joseph was able to honestly say, “You meant it for harm, but God meant it for good.” This was certainly true in the case of his brothers selling him into slavery, Mrs. Potiphar falsely accusing him of attempted rape, and the lapse of memory of his Butler friend. Yet each step of the way, God was able to take Joseph’s trying circumstance and mold him ever more closely into the man he would one day become. He was there all the time, though I am sure Joseph must have wondered at times.


John the Baptist took a stand for God and wound up in jail and lost his head.  And you and I may wind up in jail in America just for doing what is right.

“Where was God on 9-11?” … We could go on and on and tell of experiences such as …

6. … Moses (Ex. 1-4) on the backside of the desert – being prepared for greater service.

7. … Samson (Jud 14-16) groping in darkness – being strengthened in his hour of weakness.

8. … Jonah (Johan 1-4) being swallowed by a fish – learning that God’s way is best.

9. … Daniel (Dan. 6) being thrown to hungry lions – resting comfortably on a “lion-skin-rug” while jealous men sought to end his life because of his faithful testimony.

10. … Peter & John (Acts 3-5) beaten for preaching the Gospel – being given greater opportunities for sharing the good news of Christ.

11. … or Paul (Acts 14-28) being stoned, shipwrecked and imprisoned – yet being assured that all things work together for good to them who love God.

But maybe the greatest insight into the heart of God when a tragedy strikes such as the 9-11 Disaster is to respond in this way to the question…

“Where was God on 9-11?”

12. The same place He was when Jesus hung on the Cross – enduring the pain for the benefit of others. (Matt 27)
Oh the horror! Oh the agony! Oh the anguish! Oh the pain! Not just the thorns on His brow. Not just the lashes on His back. Not just the bruises from the reeds and fists of his captors. Not just the plucking of the beard from His face. Not just the spit being hurled at Him. Not just the nails in His hands and feet. Not just the spear piercing His side. All this, yes; plus the weight of the sins of the world pressing down on His shoulders.
Where was God when His one and only Son hung dying on the cross? Didn’t He know? Couldn’t He have prevented it; or stopped it? Was He helpless? Was He not aware? Didn’t He care?
Of course He knew! Of course He could have prevented it! Of course He could have stopped it! Of course He wasn’t helpless! And, Of course He cared! God knew it was happening, could have stopped it, … but He didn’t.


He had a larger picture in view. There was a greater good to be accomplished by the suffering and death of Jesus. Through the suffering of One, many would be made whole. Through the sacrifice of One, many would have their sins forgiven. Through the death of One, many would be made alive.
He wasn’t just sitting idle and helpless as His Son suffered. He was using the schemes of wicked hearts to bring about the redemption of mankind. Those wicked schemers remind me of those in leadership who today are trying to destroy our great country.  Well, God is our leader and He’s working it all according to His will for our good. 


He reminds us that … “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9)


Please note:  Though God was there near His Son while He hung on the cross, there was a moment when He had to turn His back on Him, because of our sins laid there.  Our God is holy, and can't tolerate sin, but must judge it.  Did He turn His back on America on 9/11?  If so, was it because of our national sins?  Will He turn His back again?

A year after America's greatest tragedy an issue of the “Focus on the Family Magazine,” [Christin Ditchfield. September, 2002. “A Light In the Darkness.” pp. 18-19] detailed the actions of Al Braca. Al worked on the 105th floor of Tower One [north]. When he realized that they were trapped in the building and would be unable to escape, Al shared the gospel with 50 of his co-workers and led them in prayer and many no doubt were saved before they died. Some of those same individuals had in the past mocked him for his faith.  On 9/12 many of us changed our tune and became witnesses.  We could tell the time was drawing short.  On 9/12 I resigned my cushy position as Associate Pastor in a large church and began the journey to pastor because God convinced me I needed to 'get out there.'  The fields are white unto harvest and the end is near!


On 9/12 we awoke after receiving a big wake up call.  Have we gone back to sleep?  What will it take to rouse us again?  The 9/10 mentality is dangerous.  Why are we returning to that nonsense?


On 9/12 we stopped wasting so much money on frivolous things and began giving much more to others.  But today we are spending ourselves into oblivion and wrecking our children's futures in the process.  We forget so quickly and have returned to the 9/10 mentality and then some.


I was in church on 9/12, a Wednesday night.  And a record # went to church that following Sunday and for a couple more weeks before attendance began to fall back off again.

Here's something else I thought we had learned well by 9/12:  Islam Is Not Just Another Denomination
Islam is not like the Methodist down the street or the Christian or Lutheran Church. Just because they worship one God does not mean that it is same God. Although everyone has the freedom to worship as they see fit in this country but we do not have to, nor should we, accept that Allah is just another name for Jehovah God. 


They are our sworn enemy, responsible for virtually all terrorism in the world today.  And what is the difference between the 'radical extremist' and the so called 'peaceful Muslims' of America?  Location.  For the most part Muslims live like their peers expect them to.  So what happens someday when pressure is put on them to act.  An uprising!  They are a sleeping giant and they are right in the neighborhood.


Let's remember that what we call the radical extremist is actually a 'conservative' who wants to obey what his book, the Koran, commands him to do, which is kill us who don't believe in Allah!  Am I supposed to respect the 'peaceful' Muslims who are liberals and aren't currently obeying the Quran?  So how about it - should we have more religious tolerance toward those who wrote the book on religious intolerance?


We are Americans and we are free, but we're not stupid.  Let's not act stupidly and naively.  We have the right to defend our Christian founded nation even from traitors who have infiltrated, becoming citizens, but lying as they pledge their loyalty. 


We must remember 9/11, and remember who we became on 9/12.


As believers we need to remember that our feeling of security goes beyond the measures of home land defense, beyond metal detectors, security checks, military power, political alliances or the strength of our economy. Our faith must rest solidly on a relationship with the one and only true and living God. Security is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God and the confidence and courage He gives in the midst of trouble. God is not just some far off source from whom we can seek advice but this psalm tells us that he is “a very present help.”


[Some material courtesy Travis Moore]



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