Before I went to bed on September 10, 2001, I knew what I was going to do the next day: sleep.
I’d been fighting a cold from allergies, changing weather and the germs my kids probably brought home from school. Because I tend to lapse into a drunken stupor when I take medication for a cold or allergies, I delay until I just can’t take it anymore.
I’d spent that day getting my work caught up, and my plan was to spend the next day in my recliner, with medication inside me and liquids at my side. I was sick, the kids would be in school, and I deserved this day. By the time they came home from school, I’d be well on the road to recovery.
The morning came uneventfully and I managed to get my six kiddos up, breakfasted, and out the door in good time. I took a dose of medicine and tidied the house and the kitchen from the morning school rush while waiting for the medication to push me toward my recliner.
Ah, sweet bliss and oblivion! Pulling my blanket up to my chin and releasing the leg rest on my trusty recliner, I sank back, relaxed, and fell into a deep, deep sleep.
I was awakened by the ringing of my cell phone. My neighbor called to tell me that a plane had hit one of the twin towers in New York. In my medicated stupor, I assumed it was merely an accident. I couldn’t wake up enough to realize this couldn’t have been “just an accident.” The medication was still very much in my system, and I simply went back to sleep.
My cell phone rang again. My neighbor called to tell me that another plane had hit the other tower.
We don’t own a TV, so I couldn’t simply turn on the news. After fixing a pot of coffee, I headed to my neighbor’s house. Along with other Americans, we sat and watched – and watched – and watched what was happening in New York and in DC.
When you’re so far away from an event and it seems there is nothing you can do, it matters. When there is a catastrophe that doesn’t come near to where you are but has come near to people God knows by name, it matters.
When you want to pray but don’t know how, it still matters – because it matters to Him.
That first 9-1-1, I kept watching the road for those yellow school buses. I wanted my kids to be at home with me -where they’d be safe. I couldn’t wait for them to get inside the door so I could hug each one of them. For now, they were safe. I wanted them to be safe – always.
That day, I opened my Bible again and realized how much I – and this country – need a Savior.
When we think we have it all together, we don’t need anyone else. We don’t need help from anybody because we think we’ve got it figured out. We think we’ve got it covered. There’s a word for that. It is Pride.
God said, “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.”
First, we have to be His people. We have to belong to Him. We belong to Him when we obey Him.
Then we have to humble ourselves. We have to make that call. When we call 9-1-1, we are admitting that there is a need, and we need help.
Next, we have to pray and seek His face.
We can’t seek His face if we’re heading away from Him. We need to turn from our wicked ways. Turning doesn’t mean we’ll take a detour for a little while. It means we turn and go the other way, and we look for His face.
Just like a child, who is lost in a crowd, looks for one familiar face. He scans other faces, but he doesn’t stop until he finds the face of the one he is missing. Just like a child, we have to seek His face. We don’t stop and we don’t give up until we have found Him.
It is only then – after we have done all these things – that He will hear us. He will forgive our sin, and He will heal our land.
It doesn’t make sense to ask His blessing if we are not following Him. We can hardly expect Him to favor us when we have turned our backs toe Him.
It is past time to make that call. It’s not too late, but it is past time.
It’s time to say, “I need help and I am sorry for going my own way.”
He wants to heal us. He wants to heal our land. He wants to bring restoration.