10 years. 10 years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Not to sound trite, but it truly does feel like just yesterday that I was wandering a shopping mall in between classes and looked up at a TV screen only to see the Twin Towers tumbling to the ground in a pile of rubble. 10 years. Wow.
I don’t remember precisely what my first thought was that day. Shock, probably. Fright, confusion, sadness. It really doesn’t matter. What I do know is which emotion was admittedly and shamefully absent: agonizing grief over the many souls that instantly stood before their Creator without ever having known Him in this life. Ten years later, it is this thought that consumes my thoughts surrounding this day.
Every year we remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Yet every year they get a little more distant and while perhaps they do not become foggier, they nevertheless become more intangible. So let me take you back. I do not want to write about terrorism or Islam, because neither of those things (which seem to go hand-in-hand) is going away any time soon. Let me simply remind you what happened that day.
On September 11, 2001, some nearly 3,000 people woke up to a sunny Tuesday morning. They selected their outfit for work, ate their breakfast, probably perused the morning paper. Perhaps some of them spent time in prayer and in God’s Word. And then they hurried off to work or to the airport to catch a plane. Hours later, those same people were dead. Some died upon the impact of the planes hitting the buildings. Others jumped to their death in an attempt to escape the flames and the certain destruction. The point is, before they even ate lunch, they were dead. Their last chance had passed, their eternal destiny was sealed.
Perhaps it sounds harsh to propose that some of the victims of that day were not greeted by their great Savior, Jesus Christ, with welcoming arms. But it’s the truth. Not everyone goes to Heaven. Just because you die an unjust death does not make you deserving of eternal salvation. Only one thing can acquire you that, and that is repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is precisely why we must bluntly declare that not all who died on 9/11 entered into eternal rest with their Savior…as a warning. If you have not repented and placed your faith in Jesus Christ, your first moment of eternity will be the first of millions of moments of torment. This is the truth, and it would be unloving of me not to speak it.
The events of September 11, 2001 were driven by pure evil. They were the result of grievous sin, originating with that first sin in the Garden. Yet they were allowed. Just as God allows cancer to ravage the bodies of some, or a silent stroke to take away others, so He allowed 9/11. He alone is in control of our final moments on earth. What if you don’t make it to lunch today? What if it is your day? Like it or not, there’s a timer on all of us, and God Himself has set it. Nothing we do can change it or alter it or stop it. Do you know that you are saved? If you are not sure, examine yourself. Once you know, you never have to fear an unexpected death, because you can know that you will be welcomed into the Kingdom as one of His own. You can know that Christ will name you before the Father. But woe to those who ignore the warnings! Woe to those who reject the call of salvation! Judgment is certain, and there are only two verdicts available: saved or damned.