Today is one of reflection and mourning for most Americans. We look back and remember the events of that day, where we were, what we were doing, and who we were with. It was a day we will never forget.
I was 22 years old, still a relative newlywed, having just celebrated our fourth anniversary 2 months prior. It was my husband’s day off and we were all sleeping peacefully, unaware of what was unfolding 1800 miles away. Our son was 2, our daughter had just turned 1 and we were living in a small home in a very rural area in the Colorado foothills. Ironically, that May we had been to our local movie theater to see Pearl Harbor, which turned our summer into one of admiration for that heroic generation, wondering if ours would have that kind of courage if we were every faced with war and tragedy. We had no idea that just over three months later, we would experience our own day of infamy.
A little after 7 am, we got a call from my mom. She told us about the second plane crashing into the second tower. She said that they weren’t sure what was going on, but that she and my dad were sure it wasn’t an accident. We couldn’t get any television channels where we lived and could not afford cable, so we turned our radio on. Half-an-hour later, we were listening as Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. We felt so stunned, scared and helpless. It was obvious our country was under attack and we had no idea what else was coming. Almost immediately, we got another call from my mom. “I think we’re at war,” she said frantically. “What is going on?” “Who is doing this?” These were questions that would remain unanswered for only a short time. Before long, we would know who did it and we would see the faces behind these acts of evil that took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans.
Tired of feeling so out of touch with what was happening in our country, we got our little family ready to go and drove 45 minutes to my parents’ home, where we spent the rest of the day viewing the coverage of the most significant event in our lives, even to this day. People running from the towers, covered in ash; firefighters, police, Port Authority and others heroically saving life after life, many losing their own in the process; street interviews with those trying desperately to get in touch with their loved ones, hoping that they were among the survivors and not the victims. Some would eventually find relief in the sound of a voice on the other end of the line, but countless others would soon be plunged into grief as they learned of the lives that had been claimed by the actions of ruthless murderers whose hearts were enslaved by possibly the most brutal religion the world has ever known. Our innocence had been stripped away and we would never be the same.
For the next few months, the churches were full, patriotic songs were heard on the radio, flags were flown from homes and cars, and bumper stickers reflected the feelings of the day. America was, for a short time, something that we had not been in decades. Slowly, however, things began to return to normal. The churches emptied. The patriotic songs slowly drifted from memory as they were replaced by new releases. Flags came down and worn out bumper stickers were scraped off. In short, we forgot.
Jonathan Cahn explains how 9/11 was a warning to America to return to God before it was too late. Yet, instead of heeding this warning and accepting God’s grace and forgiveness, we turned further away from Him. Instead of falling to our knees in repentance, we shook our fists in pride. Rather than allowing God’s love to truly change us from the inside out, we embraced only superficial change.
And, now, 13 years later, we are in a much worse state than before. We, like Sodom, are full of pride, arrogance, self-sufficiency and indulgence and we are lacking in compassion, mercy, justice, love, and everything else that should describe a nation founded on Christian principles and consecrated to God by her first president on his inauguration day.
Is it too late for America? I truly don’t know. Israel came to a place where it was too late and her people were sent into seventy years of captivity. Will this happen to us? It is certainly possible. For now, the only hope we have is in returning to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often quoted by Christians who are praying for God’s deliverance and restoration of this once great nation. In context, it reads this way:
11 Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the Lord’s house and in his own house was well done. 12 Then the Lord came to Solomon during the night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer. And I have chosen this place for Myself as a house of gifts given in worship. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, and if I tell the locust to destroy the land, or send disease upon My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open. And My ears will hear the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this house and have made it holy, that My name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart will always be there.
17 As for you, if you walk in My ways as your father David walked and do all that I have told you to do and keep My Laws, 18 then I will make your throne to last as I promised your father David. I said,
‘You will never be without a man to rule Israel.’
19 “But if you turn away and leave My Laws and My Word which I have given you, if you go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will take you from the land I have given you. And I will turn My eyes away from this house which I have set apart for My name. I wll make it so all people speak of it in shame. 21 Everyone will look with wonder at this house that was once honored. They will say, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land and to this house?’ 22 Then they will say, ‘It is because they turned away from the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They have taken other gods, and worshiped them and served them. So the Lord has
brought all this trouble on them.’” (2 Chronicles 7:11-22, NKJV)
It is my hope and prayer today that you will read these verses and take them seriously. I pray that multitudes across this land will return to God, seek His face, repent and beg Him to heal our land. It is my prayer that we will look inward instead of outward and that the church would stop pointing to the world as the problem and instead look at our own prideful, self-righteous hearts and realize that judgment begins in the house of God. And, I hope that we will realize that it is the message of John the Baptist (repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand) combined with the Good News of Salvation, and not our programs, events or personalities, that we are to be proclaiming to a lost and dying world.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Return to God, America, for He is our only hope. We must remember this day for the rest of our lives, but we must remember with a repentant heart that seeks God’s face with everything we are. We must remember Him. We must return.