We Remember

How do we honor today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Something we’re often told about millennials today is that history began with them. Anything that happened before their time is irrelevant. For many, that could sadly be true. Many of us don’t honor history. There is a Peanuts comic strip where Sally is writing on church history and says it’s good to go back to the beginning. Our pastor was born in….

Today, it has been 17 years since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001. There are young people that are out driving that have never known a world where this was not part of history. Next year, we will have people who are adults and were born after 9/11.

Yet we need to remember this history. If there’s another belief many of us have when we’re young, it’s that we’re in some way invincible. Somehow we will live forever and such. Now as Christians, we do believe that we will, but this is meant to say that we will necessarily avoid death. This is also why I think many of us are so convinced Jesus will return in our time. We must be that special! This doesn’t apply to all, but I think it applies to many.

9/11 was a wake-up call then. This happened for me when I was in Bible College. I remember watching it in the Activity Center with several students. When one of the buildings fell, there was a call to prayer then. I remember looking up when outdoors and seeing no planes flying overhead.

Were we safe? Would they attack again? Never ever had we seen something like this happen. Our world was so peaceful when we woke up that morning. By the end of the day, we were at war. How did this happen?

Here’s another reality.

It could happen again today.

Please understand I’m not making a prophecy or a prediction. I have no inside knowledge. What I do have is an awareness that I never would have dreamed that this would have happened on 9/11 originally. I remember that Spider-Man 2 was to come out and we had all seen a great preview of a giant web between the World Trade Center buildings capturing bad guys flying away in a helicopter. Why make that scene? It was a great scene and everyone thought the towers would still be there. They were wrong. The scene never made it to the theaters.

Today, we don’t have any promises. My wife and I will be out driving to places today. Do we have a promise that nothing will happen to us on the way? Nope. We are not promised anything like that. I highly anticipate I will finish this blog, but I have no promise that I will.

Our world is normally at peace, but we should never take it for granted. Odds are our loved ones will be with us for awhile, but we shouldn’t take that for granted. My wife and I have a copy of an updated edition of Nabeel Qureshi’s story of how he came to Jesus. I am quite sure that when he and his wife married, stomach cancer was not on the horizon and they thought they would grow old together. They didn’t. It’s a tragedy. How great would it be to say “I love you” one more time or have a kiss or a date one more time?

How great would it be to have that today with the person you love?

What could you be taking for granted today? We are not invincible. We are not promised tomorrow or even all of today. Embrace the good you have around you now.

Some of you wonder why I post love messages to my wife so much on Facebook. One reason I celebrate her is I never want to take her for granted. I guard my marriage like a hawk because it is that valuable a relationship to me and I am still amazed that there is a woman who actually wants me. My wife is too good a gift to just assume about. When you take that relationship for granted, you start to coast through it. I never plan to do that.

Thank you also to all those who serve today who defend our freedom. To those who lost loved ones on this day, may your loss never be forgotten. What happened to your loved ones was evil, and may we never forget that we should always seek to eliminate such evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thinking About 9/11 And Our Past

What can we learn from this day? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I start to write this blog, it’s about 8:42 in the morning EST. I think it was around this time that Professor Wheeler came to us as we were sitting in the gym area of our Bible College where morning worship took place as this place could seat the whole student body. Before the sermon, he said to pray for the people of New York. A plane had just hit one of the World Trade Center towers.

There was no panic or anything. I doubt people were thinking we were under attack. I sure wasn’t. I don’t even remember a¬†discussion about it going on around me so we went and had our worship service. After that, the announcement came that the second tower had been hit by a plane. Now it was no longer an accident of some kind. This was an attack.

9/11 is a day where we always look to the past. Lately, this has been quite a contentious topic in America. We have scores of people who want to take down statues of our past and change street names related to our past. I haven’t said much about it, but I do not support such an action.

You see, 9/11 taught us something. It did show us a way that we were vulnerable and now we have improved on that to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having suffering come into your life for a reason can be a tragedy. Not learning from it so that you repeat the mistake is even worse. If you do not learn from your mistakes, why should you not expect to repeat them?

We can’t erase 9/11. We can’t rewind the tape and undo it. Many of us have things from our recent history that we would love to go back and get to do them over again. It’s useless to¬†wish for. You don’t have that ability. The best you can do is look at the event and see what you can learn from it.

It’s also useless for us to stay in the past and beat ourselves up over it. It happened. It would have been nice if it hadn’t, but it did happen. If it was for some sin we did, we repent and move on and agree to do better. No further punishment is needed for Jesus took it on for us. If it is for something that happened to us, we learn how to better prepare ourselves for next time. The past can be a great teacher for us.

So now we get to the craze today of removing statues. It would be nice if we could go back in time and remove the failures of our past from us, but we can’t. Slavery happened and there’s no changing that. No one today though is responsible for what happened in the past. The more we try to punish people today for what happened, the more we make ourselves live in the past and hold people responsible for what they did not do.

Our past can be ugly, but it cannot be erased. We can live like it didn’t happen, but it did. If we act like it didn’t happen, we are more prone to make the same mistakes. To hold up the statues is not to celebrate the past, but to acknowledge it. none of us should want to celebrate what happened.

When we remember 9/11, we don’t celebrate what happened. We remember it. Where we are the ones guilty of a sin, we have grace for ourselves and repent and move on and celebrate the grace of God. Where we have been wronged and put in danger, we learn from the past and say we won’t repeat it again.

Today, we’ll be thinking about 9/11. Part of our yearly ritual on this day is to watch the World Trade Center movie. We also ask that you thank God for the people you know in your life who are first responders. If you’re reading this and you’re a first responder, thank you for your service.

And if you’re reading this and you lost someone in 9/11, my sympathies go out to you. Nothing can ever really change this day. We can only say what was said long ago, that we will rebuild and live on. Never forget the past, but don’t let it be a place of permanent residency. This goes for all of us. May we all have grace and live our lives today. We don’t dare act like it didn’t happen. It happened and it mattered and the lives of those who died will never be deaths in vain.

In Christ,
Nick Peters