Reflections on 9/11

First, to follow up my last blog post, I must note that it’s amazing what a shot of cortisone can do! I have been walking this week, and my knee is improving daily. I’ll go on Friday to see if surgery is necessary or if his “heroic attempt” to avoid it has worked! The waiting has been challenging, but good.

I was thinking back to what I was doing 11 years ago today. I suspect we all do that, try to remember that moment of where we were when our world seemed to change forever.

For me, I had a 1 year old preemie and an almost 3 year old. The picture was a normal day: me trying to get the baby to eat (“please just take a sip of this bottle!”), while I planted my son in front of Barney or Dora or some show like that until I could get her fed. This was our biggest preemie challenge. I remember somehow getting them safely situated and grabbing a quick shower. Then my mom phoned for me to turn on the TV. I remember her words, “Our country is under attack!” And just like that, it seemed life changed.

We had a friend from church, high school, and college whose brother died in the towers. He made it out safely, but kept going back in to help people. I’m sure we are all connected to someone who lost his or her life that day.

Today, as I remembered what I was doing, I couldn’t help but think how this was so sudden, so unexpected, so life changing, so shocking, so horrible, so unbelievable — there really aren’t enough words — or the right words.

And that question: “What was I doing when it happened?”

Maybe because I spent time in the book of Matthew this morning reading about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, my thoughts turned another direction. Jesus was preparing to die, and He asked his disciples to watch and pray. Each time Jesus returned, He found them sleeping. The time was at hand, and they seemed unaware. Jesus was distressed. They seemed oblivious.

It made me think about Jesus’ return. Should He return in my lifetime, it will be sudden and at an unexpected hour. Like a thief in the night (1 Thess.5:2). It will change everything. (And I realize that moment doesn’t parallel with the moment of 9/11, so covered in evil. It will be vastly different, our righteous and sovereign Lord returning!)

How will He find me? What will I be doing? Sleeping? Lazy? Distracted? Sinning? Satisfying my selfish desires? Or ready? Waiting? Doing His work in this world?

Another question then: “What am I doing right now, and what will I be doing?”

Watch and pray. Is this the key? “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41).

I prayed this morning. I wanted to see if I could pray for an hour as Jesus had asked His disciples to do (Mt. 26:36-46). I somehow am always able to think about anything and let my mind wander, but could I focus on prayer? It was an enriching time, a large part of it necessarily spent in confession (yesterday was not good, but that’s another story!). But also praise and petition and thanksgiving. We draw near to God, and He draws near to us (James 4:8).

Oh, Lord, let me live a watchful and prayerful life, ready for you, found waiting with expectation!

And praise You, Lord, that one day You will return and wipe every tear from our eyes. You will put an end to all evil and make all things right. Praise You, Lord. You are worthy of all our worship. Thank You, Jesus. Be glorified.

“And behold, I am coming soon.” Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev. 22:7, 20)

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