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Concerning 9/11/01

Almost everyone 21 years old and up remembers where they were and what they were doing on 9/11/01, when they heard the news that our nation had been attacked in NYC, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

My eighth graders were taking a pre-algebra test. A girl returning from the restroom came to my desk and asked me if there had been a crash at the airport. Since our school was near that hub, and it was only 9:00 or so in the morning (CDT), I told her “No, honey, why do you ask?”

“Mrs. McDuffie and some of the other teachers are out in the hall crying, and I heard the word ‘airplane’,” she responded.

As she took her seat and the other students were completing their tests, I quietly poked my head out of the classroom and called Mrs. McD. over. “What’s going on?” I whispered.

Grasping my wrist, with tears streaming down her dark cheeks, my colleague responded, “Girl, it looks like America is under attack! The World Trade Center has been hit twice, and so has the Pentagon!”

Hardly able to comprehend what I had just heard, I returned to the class and walked around the student desks in restless bewilderment as the remaining few kids finished up their tests. When the last student turned in his exam, I quietly told the class what I had heard. I decided that since they were 13 and 14 years old, they would be able to process—at least as much as any of the rest of us—what was going on in our country; in fact, I felt they needed to know—and I had to know. I turned on the classroom TV bolted high on the wall in the back of the room, and all of us watched in shocked silence as we stared at the screen.

Later that day, when I returned home, I prayed, cried, and watched TV in stunned horror. I opened one of my devotional books which I read nearly every day, and to my amazement, the September 11 entry, published nine years before 2001, had a timely message for our nation. Ever since that fateful day, on 9/11 every year when I read that simple entry, I am amazed at the kindness and providence of God, Who, in advance, provided words of comfort and resolve to anyone who would open that little book in those dark hours.

Here is the September 11 entry, published in 1992, entitled “Don’t Be Disturbed”:

“‘The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: He maketh the devices of the people of none effect.” Psalm 33:10

“You may be facing trouble today that’s being caused by people who have willfully plotted to do you harm. They may be trying to steal your business, your home, your children, or even to destroy your marriage. If so, I have a word of encouragement for you. According to Psalm 33:10, God will bring the plans of those people to nought. He will make their devices of none effect. The counsel of the heathen is brought to nought, but the counsel of the Lord stands forever!

“Remember this: When you make God your stronghold in the time of trouble, no one can overcome you. No matter how powerful they are in the natural, the odds are in your favor because you trust in the Lord. They may think they’ve got an edge over you, but God is on your side and that gives you the advantage!

“Rest assured, you are eventually going to triumph over this trouble. In the meantime, if you’ll set your affections on the Lord, the thoughts of His heart continually will be coming into your heart. ‘The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide’ (Psalm 37:30-31). God’s counsel will give you stability when all the world around you is shaking. Evil tidings will not be able to steal your peace. The thoughts of God will immediately rise up and rebuke the evil tidings from taking root in your heart.

“Don’t let the temporary successes of the troublemaker disturb you. Instead, ‘mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace’ (verse 37).”

—Gloria Copeland, From Faith to Faith; September 11 entry, copyright 1992.

May God comfort you and give you resolve to stand strong as you follow Him.