Where were you on 9/11?
18 years ago today, I was in a classroom at Dallas Theological Seminary, listening to an early morning lecture on the book of Revelation. Another student threw open the doors and ran to our professor. He fell to his knees, head bowed, while the student told us about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. We all knelt then, grabbed each other’s hands, and began to pray aloud. I’ll never forget all of those voices, speaking at the same time, begging God to protect and save the people on the plane and in the tower.
Time stood still.
When the second tower was hit, firemen came and herded our entire class over to the basement of Baylor Hospital, next door. We were in the heart of downtown Dallas, so they expected—not guessed, but expected—an attack to happen there too.
We watched the news for hours, mourning for those jumping from the towers to escape fire, weeping as the towers fell, praying … hoping … hurting.
Then all was silent. I’ll never forget that moment. Somehow everyone was quiet at the same second.
Several of us began to sing together.
“It is well, with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul.”
It wasn’t a denial of the tragedy or minimizing the pain. We simply acknowledged that God was with all of us. He knew our sorrow. He reached down in comfort. He cared for the dying, the damaged, the broken. And He wept with us.
I think we forget, sometimes, that God feels sorrow when we hurt. That His deep, unfathomable love means infinite loss and pain, too. We are never alone in our hurt…He hurts for His creation more than we can imagine.
On that day, the Creator and the created mourned the evil of man. But how much more sorrow does our God feel every day, as people around the world kill, maim, oppress, and damage each other? How can we mourn with Him only when evil touches us personally? Where are the tears for the rest of the world?
“Mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12