We were living in Bolivia when the terrorists struck on September 11, 2001. I decided to check the internet before heading out the door for the morning, only to discover a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. Imagining it was a small plane accident, I turned on CNN International to get the details. Within seconds I watched in horror as the second plane made a direct hit. Nothing would be the same from that moment forward.
Who would ever forget the events of 9/11? It was our Pearl Harbor, a day that would live in infamy. Bolivian friends called our home with condolences and words of solidarity. We called friends and family at home to be assured of their safety. Our hearts were encouraged by stories of prayer meetings, packed churches, Congress humbly turning to God. The Nation vowed to never forget .
But it seems we are forgetting. Last Thursday marked 13 years since the terrorist attacks and, though there were the civic ceremonies and brief stories about the lives touched by 9/11, the focus seemed to be on iPhones and Apple Watches, Ray Rice and Oscar Pistorius, and whether the President is doing too little or too much in countering the threat of ISIS. By many measures, that horrific day in 2001 is becoming our Pearl Harbor – a day and events that once shook our Nation but is now relegated to the pages of history.
Perhaps this is normal. Today’s college freshmen were only four- or five-years old on that fateful day, so it should be no surprise they remember little of the events or emotions of 9/11. Life goes on. As sad as it may be, powerful events always drift from the memory bank to the history books. Heroes become faceless names. We gradually forget the emotions that dropped us to our knees before Almighty God.
This is the most tragic of all – forgetting our dependency on God. When our world is turned upside down by national calamity or personal tragedy, we recognize that “God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken” (Psa. 62:6). Yet how easily our humble hearts give way to self-confidence when we don’t recall where we have been and how His hand has rescued us.
This is why Israel was challenged to remember their past slavery, the trials and God’s powerful deliverance:
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deut. 4:9)
Remember. Every day remind yourself of God’s saving grace. Call to mind where you would be without Christ’s great sacrifice. Call to mind how God has remained faithful even in the middle of the most severe trial, whether 9/11 or when the strong towers of your personal life tumbled down. God has not changed – your salvation and honor come from God alone.
Remember and teach these things to your children. Lest we forget.
Author: GGF President Frosty Hansen