On September 12, 2001 I wrote in my journal that nothing would ever be the same again.
I wrote: ‘I must pray with all my heart that God exists.”
I hadn’t met Jesus yet. God was a punching bag or a vending machine, depending on my mood. He wasn’t a Savior or father or Lord.
On September 11, 2001, I was in Kenya spending two months with my dad (who lived there at the time).
While the rest of America dealt with the aftermath of 9.11, my September was cannibalized by some bad news.
On September 17, 2001 I received word that a dear friend of mine had died. In a moment, all the weird pain and confusion from September 11th was consumed by the grief of losing someone so precious to me. I wrote in my journal ‘my whole body is hollow’. Scribbled just a few lines below that, in bitter letters that still make my heart hurt to read, to my make-believe god I have written: ‘I thought we had a deal’.
I’m not sure what I meant by that. I’m not sure what kind of deal I thought I could make with God that would keep the people I loved on this side of the grave.
The tragic loss of life from 9.11 was upstaged by the loss of a single life that was indescribably precious to me.
And tonight, while the rest of the world mourns those towers, the same thing is true. Once again the tragic loss of life is upstaged by the loss of a single life that was unspeakably precious to me.
Today, my selfish heart would trade hundreds of lives for one more night on the front porch with a glass of wine and a man I miss.
I was wrong ten years ago when I believed that nothing would ever be the same thing. Some things didn’t change with September 11th, 2001. Precious people still die. Little girls still lose their daddies. And there is still no deal I can make on behalf of those I love to keep them from death.
But there are differences. The skyline of New York is not the only change since 9.11.
Less than a year after I wrote my bitter words about an unmet deal, I met God in a dark room, and He made me a promise.
A promise is better than a deal. A deal means I have to do something. A promise means something will be done for me.
Today, I’m comforted by the truth that ‘death’ who so desperately tries to steal from me, is the insurance of that great promise. Because of one death I have my greatest gain.
It must have seemed like a big win for death to swallow up my sweet Savior. But death, where is your victory?
By taking His life you have given me mine.