For most Americans, and certainly for me, yesterday was a hard day. In one sense, it was a celebration of the American spirit, as the new National Football League season opened with big plays and great games. But yesterday could never be simply about football. Or baseball. Or any other sporting event. Yesterday was about remembering. It began with the early morning reminder on the front page of the Sunday paper. It continued at church with reminders of God’s grace and power over the most evil elements in our fallen world. It reached a crescendo as a lone bugler played “Taps”—with the moment being transmitted to every NFL stadium. The emotional drain of it all, of course, was nothing compared to what happened 10 years ago on September 11. Nor was it anything compared to the emotional price paid by the families of the victims of the attacks experienced on that fateful day. But while especially painful for those whose families paid the ultimate price, it was nevertheless deeply personal and painful for all Americans as it reminded us of all we have lost over this past decade. So a hard 10 years was very appropriately remembered on a very, very hard day.
In such times, there are not enough words to try and measure the sense of loss or heartache that 9-11 will always stir for those who lived it. There is, however, the Word. John said:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Jesus Christ, the Word, became flesh so that He, the Son of God, could walk among us, feel our struggles, know our heartache, and ultimately achieve what Isaiah prophesied:
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:4).
He didn’t just observe our griefs and sorrows, He took them upon Himself—along with all of the evil that generates those heartaches. He paid the price for it all, so that we could be more and know more through Him. Paul wrote:
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1:13).
As citizens of that kingdom, we can know Him, know His peace, know His forgiveness, and know His life. And even more, especially on life’s very, very hard days, we can know that we are meant for a better home. A home where . . .
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).
That promise . . . that hope. That is what Jesus died to give us. I trust that you know Him.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain