Time for some healing

Published 10:57 pm Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Sept. 11, 2001, I finally remembered prayer.

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and made a profession of faith as a young boy, but as a teenager and then as a young adult, I turned from God and followed a worldly path into darkness.

Things were, of course, not all bad. I had a beautiful girlfriend whom I would marry within two months, and we’d recently bought a house in Portsmouth, which we were renovating at the time of the terrorist attacks. Annette and I had wonderful friends and good pets and were looking forward to spending our lives together.

Email newsletter signup

On the morning of 9/11, I was at home, checking the news online as I usually did at the time, when I saw a headline and a one-paragraph story about an airplane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. My curiosity piqued, I headed into the living room, where I turned the television on and began watching the news coverage, which was still confused and tentative at the time.

We had plumbers working at the house, and one of them asked what was going on as he passed through the living room. He stopped briefly to watch with me, and the second jetliner entered the screen and crashed into the second tower at the World Trade Center.

There was complete silence in the room for a few moments, until the second plumber came into the room and asked what was happening. Like many of you, none of us could believe what was happening.

I made quick calls to Annette and to my mother and then — seeing the news about the Pentagon crash — to friends in Washington, D.C., who were at the time being hurried out of the District during the evacuation of the downtown area.

At some point, I watched as members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol and sang “God Bless America,” and I remember wondering how many of them really believed in God at all. We’d fallen far away from God, I thought to myself, and it was somewhat presumptuous of us to expect Him now to bless us because things had turned ugly for us.

Later, it struck me that my own relationship with God mirrored that of the nation at large. And that night, sitting in the living room of our Portsmouth home, my wife and I joined my mother in a small prayer ring, asking forgiveness for abandoning Him and calling on Him for protection.

Much as it was with our nation, my re-found religion was shallow and short-lived. Pretty soon, I was once again living life on my own terms, not God’s, and I found myself on the verge of having destroyed the very things that were most important to me.

But a seed that had been planted when I was a boy and then briefly watered on 9/11 began finally to take root, and three years later, almost on the anniversary of those terrorist attacks, I gave my life back to God, and He changed everything.

Second Chronicles 7:14 says: “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

God healed me when I called on Him, and He has promised to do the same for our land. We only need to repent and return to Him.

Many of us finally remembered prayer on 9/11/2001. Isn’t it time our nation remembered the One to whom those prayers were offered? Ten years after the terrorist attacks, who could argue that our land could use a little healing?