September 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. It is a date that will go down in infamy in the annals of American history. Much like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor was for generation before, people will always remember where they were and what they were doing on that fateful day.
I was at the Chic-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia in a board meeting for Henry Blackaby Ministries. My father had just led a morning devotional for the board on Psalm 11:3 which says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” We were discussing that truth when people around the table began to receive messages alerting them to the horrific events. Ultimately Truett Cathy, owner of Chic-fil-A, gathered his shocked staff and asked my father to say a few words. Then everyone was released to go home and check on loved ones.
Of course, many things changed that day. Security lines in airports became daunting (No more carrying your pocket knife with you on the airplane!). Entire new government agencies as well as stacks of new regulations were created. International travel and business changed. Americans’ views toward Muslims and the Middle East altered. Many, many things changed that day.
What had happened? America’s foundations had been shaken. People who had relentlessly pursued their career and money, took a sober look at their life. People who had to board airplanes in the ensuing days or who had to take an elevator up a skyscraper invariably asked the question: Would I be ready to die today? Much soul searching occurred.
I remember seeing the spontaneous prayer meetings that occurred across Atlanta (where I was stranded for several days before I could get a new flight back home). Church attendance overflowed (for four weeks). A flood of articles, sermons, newscasts, and books were produced as people tried to come to grips with what had happened.
Now it is ten years later. A new trade tower has not yet been built. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Two wars have been fought. People still have to remove their shoes in airport security lines. Many questions remain. Churches have long since moved on.
Perhaps it is appropriate for each of us to reflect on what in their lives is different today since 9/11. The foundations of our world were shaken. How have the “righteous” responded? I for one no longer race off to the airport without making sure my relationships at home are as I would want them if I was never able to return. I also live with a greater awareness that life at its best is brief and ought to be lived intentionally. I also am much more aware of how small our world is and how billions of people around the globe still need to know the love of Christ.
It would be a shame to have endured so much only to resume living life as usual. Our world has changed. Things will never be the same. How are you living today that is different (and hopefully better) than the way you were living ten years ago?