How Do We Stand Firm?
"Today our nation saw evil—the very worst of human nature—and we responded with the best of America." —President George W. Bush, Address to the Nation, September 11, 2001
Americans will never forget what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Ever. Our nation felt as Job did when he said, "The thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me" (Job 3:25).
The events of September 11 will always be a dark cloud in our nation's history. But if this cloud had a glimmer of a silver lining, we saw it. We witnessed an overwhelming display of unity, compassion, and spirituality—the likes of which many of us had never experienced.
Millions of people around the world mourned together. Partisan conflicts vanished. American flags flew everywhere. An unprecedented wave of spiritual need was felt and expressed. People throughout the world were praying. Congress prayed together on the steps of Capitol Hill and held an evening prayer vigil. And although I pastor and teach 15,000 congregants every week, for the first time in my life, I prayed on network television before a secular audience. A pastor in Manhattan told me, "Wherever you go here, you see handwritten signs that simply say, 'Pray.'"
At times like this, we're moved beyond ourselves, toward Someone much stronger than ourselves. We've always needed God. But many—their lives altered by previously unimaginable tragedy—now realized this more poignantly than ever before.
In the aftermath of tragedy, how do we stand firm in unsettling times? We find encouragement in Psalm 46 and are reminded of God's presence, God's peace, and God's power.