Fireman In Front of Fire Truck

We Will Never Forget

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Fireman In Front of Fire TruckAt 7:59AM September 11, 2001 Mohammed Atta was sitting in his seat as just one of the 92 passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 as its wheels left the runway at Boston’s Logan International Airport.  Just 47 minutes later at 8:46AM Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center and began the day that would see the death of 2,996 people at the hands of hatred, violence, and terrorism.

“We Will Never Forget”

It’s hard to process grief, accept loss, or find a positive and effective response to evil.

Great or small, grief and loss become a part of the story of every life.  And while it can seem like a desirable outcome to escape, avoid, or forget the pain and the suffering that grief and loss have caused, God is offering to give you a path to embrace, accept, and convert the memory of grief and loss into the narrative fabric and foundation of a new life.

For better or worse, each loss is an inflection point — a change of heart, a change of mind.  Each experience of grief leaves an indelible mark that can serve as a seed for future prosperity.

“We Will Never Forget”

The challenge to the survivor of loss is to find and to choose leadership instead of defeat, health instead of destruction, new life and peace instead of darkness and fear.

The enemy only wins if they can convince you to give up the victory because embedded in every failure, defeat, and hurt is the opportunity to survive, to learn, to grow, and to thrive.

The Bible is full of stories of grief and loss.  When Jesus was born, the local king killed all the boys under two years old in the area where he believed Jesus was living to protect his throne against the prophecy of the coming Messiah who would reign forever.  After Israel had risen to prominence among the nations, it fell into decline and eventually was conquered and taken captive by foreign empires.  After Jesus had achieved so much success and become so popular among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem, He was put to death for crimes He didn’t commit.  The list goes on.  And there is a common theme to all of them.  Although there is a terrible loss that is felt deeply by everyone involved, the loss does not prevent the ultimate victory.  And what’s more, God finds a way to convert the memory of the loss into the foundation and context of the path to overcoming.

It’s like the Psalmist observed,

When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the LORD has done for them.” Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Although they weep as they go to plant their seed, they will sing as they return with the harvest. – Psalm 126

“We Will Never Forget”

The motivation, inspiration, and dedication to succeed, to survive, to thrive, and to prosper can grow likes seeds in the soil of grief, hurt, loss, and sadness.  Like seedlings springing from the darkness of the earth to reach for and follow the sun — so hope, passion, purpose, and focus can spring from the worst that the enemy has to throw at you.

“Although they weep as they go to plant their seed, the will sing as they return with the harvest.”

The challenge when you face loss is to find and to accept the seeds for new life that are hidden within the grief, the anger, the sadness, and the frustration that can appear to be the only result of the damage caused by the loss.

“We Will Never Forget”

What are you going to do about it?  What seeds are you going to plant?  What harvest does God have in store for you?

As we remember the courageous, the heroes, the brave, and the stalwart souls that died September 11, 2001 and the thousands of public servants who put their lives on the line every day so that we might enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the land of the free and the home of the brave — take a moment to consider what new life God is working to build out of this loss that must never be forgotten.  What vision for your community, your country, your world can grow out of the dark earth of this grief and remembrance to find and to follow the bright sunlight of a new day, a new hope, and a renewed vision for freedom and prosperity for all?

God’s purpose is not defeated by loss or cut off by grief.  Rather, in the darkness and the hurt, God is offering you seeds of new life as soon as you are ready to accept them.

It is for you, the survivor, to take hold of the purpose, the passion, the mission, and the calling that God is offering to plant in your life and to use the memory of what was lost, to step with greater strength into what is to come.

I’m reminded of Abraham Lincoln standing on a field littered with thousands of graves of courageous souls who had died defending a vision of what his country could be.  I imagine him struggling to put into words the seeds of hope and the passion he felt for the future of the American dream — a dream of equality, of freedom, of prosperity, of peace — that He believed so strongly needed to be sown, embraced, nurtured, and empowered.  Feeling small in the face of the enormity of the struggle.  Feeling deep sadness and overwhelming grief.  Feeling uncertainty and doubt about the outcome of a war that raged on around him, Lincoln stood with just a few short sentences to speak a humble dedication over the lives and the resting place for those he had lost.  And although he expected that what he said would soon be forgotten, I think the fact that he so eloquently summarized such a deeply meaningful and healthy response to grief and to loss is, in large part, why his words continue to resonate across the centuries to inspire and to empower the very heartbeat of the American dream.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

 

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

Delivered by Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, PA

“We Will Never Forget”

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Christian Speaker, Author, Pastor, Leader.

“God’s Answers Are Always Simple. God’s Answers Always Work.”

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