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A Suitcase of Sorrow & Skepticism


Remember well that day? Where you were? What you were doing? Who you were with?

I do.

This day today marks the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

Twenty years ago:

  • 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and

  • flew these planes into NYC’s twin towers,

  • the Pentagon, and

  • a Pennsylvania field after passengers courageously stormed the cockpit

  • 2,996 lives were lost,

  • including hundreds of first responders, and

  • America’s longest war began with America’s invasion of Afghanistan.


Others remember…

  • Mothers who lost their son, their daughter…

  • Wives who lost their husband…

  • Brothers who lost their siblings…

  • Friends who lost their friends…

  • And, ….

Remember how your own sense of security changed from before you heard the news to after?

Remember how you almost instantly grew skeptical of what once was deemed safe, now could hold grave danger?

I do. The lens through which I saw life changed. A new “prescription” was formed through which I thought would safely correct my sight to how I should see life from that day forward.

What used to be seen as non-threatening, became fertile ground for thoughts and judgments of personal harm or devastation.

What else happened to me on that day?

  • My heart of sorrow was painfully stretched to accompany the sorrow of thousands

  • My degree of trust diminished as my degree of skepticism ”dialed up.”

  • My vigilance was more fine-tuned to see my surroundings in greater detail

  • My fear increased as my peace decreased

  • My mind leaned more toward doubt than upon truth

What else?

I was two weeks away from giving birth to my baby girl.

What kind of world is she coming into?

So what?

Though my sweet, innocent little bundle of joy was to me an absolute screaming delight when the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!”, I knew her precious life was as easily here today as it was as easily gone tomorrow.

Psalms 90:12 (NIV)

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Now what?

You and I have a daily choice to choose the lens through which we see, process and respond to our own suitcase of…

  • highs and lows

  • sorrows and splendor

  • pain and health

  • changes and constants

  • gains and losses

9-11 A Tragedy. Period. Remember it. Recall it. Reflect upon it. Tenderly embrace those who fell and those who remain with only their memory of them.

And as we move forward, together, remember we have a daily choice to see our lives, our world, through a new lens which only God can prescribe and grant you grace to see, now and forever:

Romans 8:15-39 (MSG)

15 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What's next, Papa?”

16 God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.

17 And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

18 That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.

19 The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next.

20 Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in

21 until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

22 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs.

23These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.

24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us.

25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

26 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.

27 He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.

28 That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

29 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

30 After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

31 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?

32 If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us?

33 And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen?

34 Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.

35 Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

36 They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

37 None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.

38 I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow,

39 high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

My prayer for you and me is that we would fill our suitcases with the Truth of His Word and wear the lens prescription He offers us through Jesus Christ.

Remember well 9-11.

Reflect well on what is in your suitcase.

Receive His Divine lens for seeing and living in this present world.

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