Tag Archives: restoration

9/11 Remembrance

Seventeen years ago today was one of the worst days in American history.  An unthinkable attack was made on American soil as passenger jetliners were turned into weapons of mass destruction in an act of terrorism.  Innocent people died, and heroes rose and fell.  It was a day that any American old enough to remember will never forget.

At that time in 2001, I was a seeker of God, meaning that I was still trying to figure out who He was and what He was going to mean to me.  One of my biggest roadblocks was trying to reconcile the loving God that I was learning about in my new church with a God who allowed awful things to happen to me in my lifetime.

On 9/11/2001, I was on my way to a hospital in SE Kentucky to hold an open enrollment meeting for its employees when suddenly the news broke that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers in New York.  It wasn’t clear how this had happened; nobody knew if it had been accidental or intentional.  I walked into the lobby of the hospital in time to see the second plane hit the second tower, and the intent then was clear for all to see.

I went through the open enrollment that day in stunned silence.  I functioned on automatic pilot as I did what needed to be done.  The people with whom I met were also in stunned silence.

In between meetings, I stepped into the lobby to watch the news coverage.  As the towers collapsed, the most amazing thing happened – I felt God’s heart actually breaking.  The tears that streamed down my face were mine, but they were also His.  In that moment, I understood that God is not distant and uncaring as terrible things happen on this earth.  Those things grieve His heart deeply as He watches His children suffer.  I think it grieves Him even more when His dearly loved children inflict such pain and torment upon each other.

That experience of feeling God’s heart break was key for me in my seeking journey.  It led directly to my giving my life to Christ, fully and without reservation, on 10/14/2001.  Praise God!

Today, I remember all of those who were lost in those terrible attacks and I pray for their loved ones.  It is a somber day of remembrance for me.  However, I also rejoice that our God is big enough to bring beauty from the ashes of tragic events such as this one.  I look to Him as the source of joy and hope, and I look to Him for restoration and redemption.  He provides those things in my life and I pray that He provides them in the lives of the survivors and the ones who were left behind in the attacks.

What are your thoughts and memories of 9/11?  Please feel free to share them in the comments.

 

 

Refuge Under His Wings

Sometimes – often when we least expect it – life throws a curve ball. Something happens that causes us deep sorrow and grief. Perhaps a loved one passed, or maybe a relationship that was meant to be for life ended, or some other significant loss was suffered. These types of events can leave us at a crossroads in our faith, and we are left to decide how to handle it.

Very early in my walk with Jesus, a woman at my church gave her testimony, and it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered, “Pay attention, Liz; you’re going to need to know this.” She talked about how an unforeseen tragedy hit her life and she was left with the choice to either lean into God or lean away from Him. Her story of leaning into God in her sorrow and the subsequent redemption that He brought really stuck with me.

A couple of years later, unforeseen tragedy hit my life also, and I remembered this lesson. I knew that I had to decide for myself whether to lean into God or to lean away from Him. Well, I had gone my own way for much of my life, and I already knew that that didn’t work well at all, so I chose to lean into God. I had no idea how God might redeem or restore what had been lost, but I knew that He promised to do just that. Still, I felt like the Psalmist who wrote, “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” (Psalm 31:9) Or like Job, who said, “My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.” (Job 17:7)

I didn’t know much Scripture at that time, but I did know Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” One night I was sobbing and crying out to Him, begging Him to be close to me and to save me. Suddenly, I felt a strange sensation. It was as if I could feel feathers touching my shoulders, pulling me to Him. Peace inexplicably settled over me. Comforted, I finally fell asleep and rested in His arms. It was the first decent night of sleep I’d had in weeks. Much later, I learned of this verse:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

I truly believe that He sheltered me under His wings on that night.

Are you grieving today? If so, take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands exactly what you’re going through and how you are feeling. The Bible tells us that, “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” (Isaiah 53:3 NLT) In both Matthew 26:38 and Mark 14:34, Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He knows what it is like to suffer that soul-crushing grief.

If that’s where you are today, I encourage you to choose to lean into Him, not away from Him. Take courage from the following verses:

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Psalm 119:28

You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Jeremiah 8:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

God promises to strengthen us and to comfort us, to bind up our wounds and to give us refuge in the midst of our sorrow and grief. You can pray those verses over yourself and ask Him to show you how He is moving in response to your prayers. In addition, feel free to leave a message in the comments below or to message me directly and I will be glad to pray for you!