Goodbyes were spoken too quickly, too flippantly, too curtly that day.
“I love yous” were mumbled, barely detectable beneath the breath of busyness.
“I’m sorrys” and “I forgive yous” were neglected until an evening that never arrived.
“Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that you cannot and died that you may live. Repent of your sin and believe upon Him, the only true Lord and Savior”—utterance of these words was postponed until a more convenient day. But that day never came.
Fourteen years ago today, millions around the world stood in bewildered astonishment, mouths agape, tears silently rolling, as inconceivable terror and tragedy took aim at a seemingly impenetrable America. Shock could not begin to describe the first reaction of most. Shock, followed by grief, followed by fear.
But there is One who was not shocked that day. One who knew exactly when and where each plane would strike. One who knew each soul whose life would end. One who knew the unspoken words of the hearts of those souls. One who knew the eternal destination of each and every soul that perished. One who had long ago ordained the end from the beginning.
But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. (Psalm 135:6)
I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ (Isaiah 46:10)
Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth? (Lamentations 3:37–38)
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:35)
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1)
The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. (Psalm 33:10)
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29–30)
Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. (James 4:13–14)
In spite of all the grief-stricken incredulity that characterized America on that day, the Lord God was not surprised. His plans were not thwarted, but rather, all things were working exactly according to His sovereign will. And while Americans still rightly and reverently remember that sobering day, it must be reflected upon in light of our God’s perfect providence. This same providence must be what we cling to still today, as wars and unrest continue to swirl.
As a matter of final reflection, we do well to remember that man is not promised another day. He is not even promised another hour! Let this serve as one more reminder that Christians must seek to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ wherever men can hear. We may not have another day to speak it, and our audience may not be granted another day to respond to it. Oh, Lord, equip, empower and embolden us to prepare others for that day when they will stand before you face to face.
*This post was a repost from 11 September 2014.