I watched in dismay as floor upon floor collapsed in both towers of the World Trade Center on Tuesday. It was shocking, nothing less than shocking. Stunned, I could do nothing. I was watching this on television. The events had occurred hours earlier in the day. Even those who were present could do nothing at the time of the events unfolding. This was truly a case of feeling powerless to do anything at all. In no uncertain terms, those trapped inside, and around the World Trade Center were victims in the truest sense of the word.
These people came to work on Tuesday morning, expecting a regular day of business. People — men, women, and even children — boarded the tens and tens of elevators for the first, second, third, all the way up to the one hundred and tenth floors of each of the twin towers. Some people opened up newspapers, to read the daily news. Others went to the cafeteria to grab a coffee and a donut, or a quick bite to eat, before a busy day at the office. Business executives looked at their day-timers — or “Palm Pilots” more than likely — in an attempt to figure out which item deserved the most priority on their list.
Were these people any worse sinners than anyone else to have been targeted like this and received such a horrific and sudden end to many of their lives? Did they “do” something, for example, which got God “angry” with them, so that God “sent” those planes against them that day? And what about those people in the planes, whose hopes and dreams were dashed in an instant? What of those who died as well, both in and outside of the planes, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania? Were these people somehow “deserving” of this terrible fate which they suffered?
The truth of the matter is that these people were no worse that you or I. If they deserved to die, then you and I deserved to die. None of us can claim we are any better than anyone else. Our attitude, therefore, towards those that have suffered this terrible fate, including friends and families of the victims, must be one of compassion and understanding and of help in time of need. Yes, this is America’s time of need. It is all of our time of need. None of us is exempt, if we really want to be honest about it.
There is one more point I must mention before I finish this article, for this article would be incomplete without it. The Bible says that we are all sinners, and have all fallen short of the glory of God. When you come right down to it, that means that none of us is really “deserving” of the tremendous goodness which we so often tend to take for granted and which comes from God, in whom, the Bible says, there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17) This means that regardless of the circumstance in which we find ourselves, whether rich or poor, whether from one country or another, whether caught in the midst of a tragedy or living safely in our homes, that we each need to acknowledge that our lives are a gift from God — they are not ours.
As the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian believers, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20) How are we each doing on this point? Are we glorifying God with our bodies, and in our spirits? What if, by chance, we should find ourselves having to meet God face-to-face sometime in the near future, like each of those who have lost their lives this past week has had to do? For the Bible clearly says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this [comes] the judgment”. (Hebrews 9:27) Would each of us be ready to meet God face-to-face at this point in time?
On this note, may I encourage each of us to “make it right” with God, before it is too late. No person knows the day or the hour that he or she will be required to stand before the Lord. For some this week, it is too late to even begin thinking about that. But for those of us who remain, may we all learn from this week’s activities, that we are not each personally able to tell what day or hour we will be required to stand before the Lord. Let us then do everything we can to “make it right” before our Lord, before whom we shall each be required to stand, before it is too late.