Where Were You?
Yesterday I watched a documentary on the History Channel with live footage of the horrendous attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Some of you were not even born yet. Some of you, like me, were very young. I was in the fourth grade. I was attending Boiling Springs Elementary School in South Carolina. I vividly remember that day. I could paint a picture of the hallways. I was in Ms. Cooke’s class. We were doing math. Someone came in and told her what happened. We rarely watched TV in school, but that day we did.
I was just a child but I understood something big was happening. I remember walking in a single file line to my classroom after lunch. That day, we all followed the rules. None of us talked when we were supposed to. Most of us didn’t talk at all. It was silent and somber. My teacher cried. I cried. I think just about everyone cried. I was just about as patriotic as they come and it broke my little heart. That is a part of my childhood I will never forget. A few days later we held an assembly around the flag pole. My teacher started singing “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus there’s just somehting about that Name…” and I felt Him close.
I have watched footage of the events and every single time, it hits me and I cry. The shock. The terror. The unfathomable wreckage and loss to human life.
Where were you?
Where were you when the towers fell? Where were you when the world changed? Where were you that day?
I am familiar with trauma and the impacts it can have on people for years to come. A question I always seem to find myself asking in times like that is “Where Were You, God?” Where were you when those planes were about to hit? Where were you when a pandemic was about to disrupt the entire world? Where were you when the families fell apart or the jobs were lost?
It’s easy to question God when things go wrong, but we should never stay there. He is in control and is present even when it doesn’t look the way we thought it would. God gives humans free will and sometimes people use that in very evil ways. That is not God’s fault. Could He stop it? Absolutely. But that would make Him a puppet master and not a Father who lets His children learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others.
I think of how ironic God’s response to Job was when he presented similar questions to the ones I have asked.
God answered Job’s questions with questions.
“Where were you?”
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
“Where were you?” Where were you when He did all the miracles? Where were you when He created the universe and saved your soul? Where were you when He died a horrible death on your behalf in order to save all mankind?
I cannot tell you His reasonings for letting bad things happen, but all I know is that He is always there even when we can’t seem to find Him.
There is an old Avalon song that came to mind while writing this article.
“You are God and though we would not have understood You… You were there, You were there. In the midst of the unclear. You were there, you were there always. You were there when obedience seemed to not make sense. You were there, You were always there. You were always there… You were, You are and You will always be.”
He is present. He knows. He sees.
If you ask where God was on September 11, 2001. He was there. I imagine His heart was aching at the cruelty and the evil. He was crying with us.
He was also there on September 12. The day when the nation was a little kinder toward one another. He was there when we flew the flags and hugged the strangers. He was there as we drew strength from each other because most of us didn’t have much of it left on our own.
Where were you?
Let’s be that September 12 nation today. We may not understand why God allows bad things to happen, but He is with us and we can be there for eachother.
Rachel Skirvin is a lover of travel, nachos, and the gospel. She is a graduate of Urshan College and will most likely always call it Gateway. She is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and human services and is currently serving at The Pentecostals of Cooper City in South Florida