Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you 1st heard the news about the planes being hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania?
I remember it vividly. I had spent that previous weekend at Salem Lutheran Church in Tomball, Texas just outside of Houston. I had just packed up from my hotel room, and was standing outside when the guy I roomed with told me the news of the crash into the 1st tower of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and all flights being cancelled. I was to fly out that evening. I sat there at the end of the bed seeing the picture of the hit on the 1st trade center and watching the TV when the 2nd jet slammed into the 2nd tower. It was numbing. It was shocking. It was overwhelming, and I don’t about you, but it still is for me.
So was the journey home. I rescheduled 4 times with the airlines, and flights kept getting cancelled. I had the 1st flight out when they were going to lift the initial grounding of the planes on September 12th, but they didn’t lift them. I kept calling, rescheduling, and the flights kept getting cancelled. Finally, when they said they couldn’t get me to San Diego until 10:45 a.m. that Sunday. I rented a car. I called Budget, they had 5 cars. I could have a Ford Focus if I got there in an hour. I was there in a half hour. They had 2 cars and my Ford Focus had grown up into a Ford Explorer. 1 of the guys with me was from Tucson, so off we drove. After 1300 miles, 64 ounces of circle K cappuccino coffee, I made it home in time to catch the prayer service our staff had planned. It was an incredible moment, one I will not forget.
My favorite illustration I used after 9-11 is a daughter who complained to her dad about how hard things were. “As soon as I solve 1 problem,” she said, “Another 1 comes up. I’m tired of struggling.”
Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled 3 pots with water and placed them each on a high fire. Soon the pot came to a boil. In one he placed carrots. In the 2nd, he placed eggs. In the 3rd, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.
The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a while, he turned off all the burners. He fished out the carrots and put them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and put them in a bowl. He poured the coffee into a cup. He asked, “Darling, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He asked her to feel the carrots. She said they were soft. He asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling, off the shell, she felt the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor.
She asked, “What does this mean, Father?” He explained each had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong and hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water. He asked his daughter, “When adversity knocks on your door, which are you?”
10 years ago adversity slammed into the door. The suicidal pilots believed their killing themselves and others were straight tickets to heaven. How different is the way of our God. Instead of sacrificing our lives, Jesus sacrifices his own that we might have life with God.
In driving through West Texas nearly 10 years ago, the only thing the car radio picked up was Talk Radio. No matter who the host was or what he said, 1 response was repeated, “Nuke ‘em.” Even when we didn’t know who ‘em were, most callers were ready to let the nukes fly. There was a desire for revenge. For some perhaps this past May when Osama bin Laden met his demise, revenge came. My guess is even that victory left an empty feeling.
Today we remember 10 years ago thousands died from the actions of a few, and 2,000 years ago 1 died for the actions of us all. What do you remember from that day? What difference is it making in your life today?