Fifteen years ago, America was caught off guard in the worst terrorist attack ever in U.S. history.
It was a Tuesday morning. No one had any idea the intentions of 19 men boarding four different planes in three different cities. No one knew in a matter of a few hours, their actions would affect the lives, livelihoods and futures of every single American. But they did.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 radical Islamic terrorists hijacked commercial airplanes in a carefully coordinated attack, bound for four specific targets. Two of the planes were deliberately crashed into the upper floors of the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Another slammed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth, United Airlines, Flight 93, a Boeing 757, was diverted by the courageous passengers and crew from the intended target and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
The FAA immediately grounded every flight over or bound for the continental United States. Meaning that 3,330 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes were directed to airports in Canada and the United States for the first time in history. It all happened in under three hours.
The terrorist attacks killed almost 3,000 people from 93 different nations. 2,753 in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 in Pennsylvania. That morning our entire nation watched as the events unfolded in the most horrific terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil. As the day wore on, we wondered how could this ever happen and how could it happen here … at home? That night America went to bed in shock, saddened and stunned.
In the morning, America woke up different.
In the space of a few hours, America became a different place and Americans became different people. It didn’t matter who you were, even if you were a complete stranger, if you were an American we were on the same side. We were on the same team. This was the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. No one could explain it, but no one could deny it either. Something happened to the heart and soul of our country.
And it was wonderful!
There weren’t any NFL football players refusing to stand for our National anthem. In fact, all over the country, whenever and wherever The Star Spangled Banner was sung or played, people stood at attention, sang with vigor and wiped away tears. At every major league baseball park they sang God Bless America and everyone stood at attention, many with a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye.
For a few weeks, in September of 2001, America was a different place … a better place. But how quickly we forget.
Believe it or not, the same thing happens with Christians. A trial, test or tragedy comes and we can’t get to our knees fast enough. We can’t be in church for worship enough. We can’t pray enough. We can’t serve enough. We can’t give enough. Whatever God says or whatever God wants, we’re there. We’re in. All in.
But how quickly we forget.
Remember? When your mom got sick, your spouse left, your dad died, you lost your job, you were struggling to make ends meet, your marriage was on the rocks, your kids got in trouble with the wrong friends, your world seemed to be crashing in around you? You fill in the blank. Remember? You wanted GOD and the CHURCH … RIGHT THEN. You were praying, pleading and promising. Remember?
But how quickly we forget.
God answered your prayers and blessed you. But you forgot all that … and all He did for you. In fact, forgetting appears to have become your modus operandi. Now, you forget to pray. Forget to have a quiet time every morning. Forget to serve. Forget to give – even a tithe – back to God. Forget to be in church for worship on the Lord’s Day. You fill in the blank.
If someone asks, you tell them you’re a Christian and you love God. But the truth is, it sure looks like you’ve forgotten.
How quickly we forget.
This Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It also happens to be September 11 … again. The fifteenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack ever on the United States of America. My prayer is simply this, when Sunday morning gets here …
… we’ll all remember … and we won’t forget.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
[Don’t miss being in worship at Crossroads this weekend. We’ll be sharing an incredibly moving video that will help us all remember, so we never forget.]
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.