This Sunday will mark the fifteen anniversary of the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC.
Two-thousand two hundred and ninety-six people were killed that day, and six thousand others were injured by the deadliest terrorist attack on America since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the day that FDR told us "would live in infamy."
Add to that the people who heroically sacrificed their lives to prevent a third plane from crashing into Congress or the White House and the thousands of first responders whose health was seriously or fatally compromised by the massive cleanup operation, and you have a human tragedy of staggering proportions. And it must be always remembered that for every victim there are many other loved ones who still grieve the lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, etc. We should all lift up those who are still grieving for their lost loved ones, particularly this Sunday.
No one who was alive on September 11, 2001 will ever forget where they were and what they were doing when we first heard the news.
I actually saw the first reports on television, as I was preparing to leave my home to go to work in the Southern Baptist Convention building in downtown Nashville. The images of the jet liners flying directly into the Twin Towers is indelibly etched in my mind and my heart. I had flown right past those same Towers the Friday night before as I left LaGuardia to fly home to Nashville.
All of us remember the rush to attend churches and the solace people found in their faith.
Unfortunately, the return to faith for many faded quickly, and within months we returned to "normal." However, the new "normal" was different from the old normal with heightened security measures, loss of freedoms, and a significant loss of peace of mind.
This Sunday, September 11, our Christian leaders have called on our churches and all Christians to pray for repentance and spiritual renewal in America.
As Dr. Ronnie Floyd, immediately past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and long-time Arkansas pastor, has said, "The church cannot call America to repent until the church repents. We need to repent of our prayerlessness. We need to repent of our unbelief. We need to pray for ourselves to get right with God and right with one another."
Please go to your church this Sunday and join me in praying that God will send repentance, revival, awakening, and reformation to America. We must always remember that as Christians our ultimate and eternal security is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As the incomparable Chuck Colson reminded us in "The Enduring Revolution," his acceptance speech upon receiving the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1993, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob reigns. His plan and purpose rob the future of its fears. By the cross, He offers hope. By the resurrection He assures His triumph."
Let us all covenant in prayer together that God will send a spiritual awakening to our country and that we will once again be a nation that God can truly bless.