I feel as if I should say something. But does anything really need to be said? It was a day for the history books, we all knew that within moments. Now that a decade has passed it’s time for the history books to start being written. They say history is written by the victors. And as true as that is, it should also be true that history is written by all of us together. Therefore we must all say our piece. And, if I can figure out how to do it, there is something I think should be said.
We may not always realize it, but there is always a choice to be made when tragedy strikes. The closer it hits us, geographically and emotionally, the more important our choice becomes. The choice is this: What do we do now? Do we lash out in anger? Do we cower in fear? Do we coldly plot revenge? Or do we choose to stand our ground and lift up something else to light our way? The contrast is brutal.
Ten years later, I think most of us have made our choice. Mine is this.
I refuse to be a cynic. I refuse to believe that everyone who is a liar or a murderer can never change, that the world is full of nothing but troubles, and that life has no redeeming qualities. I refuse to have hope only when things are going well or when the day is sunny. I refuse to hope in moderation. Not everyone reading this may understand my reasons, but I’ll share them anyway because maybe you will.
I read the Bible. I believe in Jesus Christ. There is no room in the Bible for a sappy, cheery, lets-ignore-our-problems festival. But neither is there room for cynicism. It’s impossible to truly follow Christ and believe that people are incapable of transformation, that beauty which God Himself created is a falsehood, and that we have no means of redemption. The choice to hope in Christ is essential to us. Because the Bible calls Christians not just to have hope, but also to worship.
Worship and hope are, if not intertwined, then at least in sync with each other. They come from the same root source: love. The more we love Jesus, the more worth and value we ascribe to Him and the more we put Him at the centre of our lives. This is worship. The more we love Jesus, the more we trust in what He says and believe He will deliver on His promises. This is hope. The measure of our hope is the measure of our worship is the measure of our love.
Don’t bother asking me to hope in moderation, or to leave the joyful expressions of love at home today. Grief should happen at such times, and it is meant to, but hope must always eventually step into the foreground. The less we allow hope to replace anger and fear and a thirst for vengeance, the less we allow ourselves to love.
Hebrews 10:23-24 says this: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Not if it’s convenient or easy, not only if the sun is shining or in moderation…but unswervingly. Because this isn’t an ordinary man, a faulty human being who sometimes breaks trust no matter how hard He tries not to.
If you or someone you know lost a loved one on that day, I’m not going to pretend that I know your pain. But I do know my own. I have had burdens of pain on my shoulders, and also burdens of guilt from having been the cause of pain. And I’m not going to pretend the choice to hope is easily or lightly made. But it is a choice we have to make anew every single day. If we don’t…then we will surely die inside, slowly. And that pain runs deeper and hurts stronger than the one we felt in the instant we first heard the news.
This day is remembered by a plethora of images of destruction — and mostly the same image of destruction from a plethora of angles. I, however, prefer this one. Because I choose to hold up hope as the light I will live by. And not hope in just anything, not hope as an abstract concept, but hope in Christ. The hope that one day the things I have done will not be held against me; the hope that true justice will come from the One who is just above all others; and the hope that the world we ourselves have torn down and burnt will be rebuilt.
And I hope that more of us will choose the same as I have, if perhaps for different reasons. Ten years later…we are still in desperate need of hope.