God is our Refuge and Strength…A very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Psalm 46:1-3 Amplified

I set my coffee cup aside this morning and started to close my prayer journal, thinking I was ready for the day, when I glanced at the calendar.

September 11. Oh, my.

Everyone over the age of 30 has a 9/11 story: where they were and what they were doing when they heard the News. Some stories are pretty dramatic—like the two fighter pilots I just heard about who were ready to take down United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania with their unarmed planes…and their own lives. Others involved simple ordinary decisions, like the people who took a few extra minutes to leave for work on that golden September morning and discovered they had saved their lives. Or a cousin of ours whose meeting at the World Trade Center had been cancelled at the last minute.

The rest of us were just going about our business when we felt the foundations of our world rock beneath us and realized we’d been transported into a nightmare from which there was no waking. I will never forget the shock of watching the planes fly into the proud towers of my native city, over and over, until I ran from the tv, screaming. I still shudder and feel my eyes fill with tears when I see that image.

Twenty-two years. Long enough for the grandson who was just a baby to grow to full manhood. For him to be joined by two siblings, the youngest of whom graduated from high school this spring. For the friend I tried to hike with to have joined my ever-lengthening list of folks on the Other Side.

Our Ancient Enemy did his worst that day; he’s still doing it. The earth is still changing, the mountains still shake in the midst of the sea, the nations still rage against each other and God Himself, wars still break out left and right, as the Psalmist predicted thousands of years ago, but our God is still “our refuge, our strength, a very present help in trouble.” No matter what the horror or chaos, He does not change.

On that basis and that basis alone can we “be still and know (He) is God.” (vs. 10)

FATHER GOD: I pray for my country. We needed You desperately on 9/11; we need You now. Help us know we can be still and trust You, no matter what. Amen.

To be published weekend of September 16, 2023.