This was the week September 11th was remembered by many. It really stirs the heart and memories looking back, doesn’t it? I’m sure you have a lot of memories packed-away about this infamous day. We’ll never forget, will we?
Some precious memories of the days that followed came to mind this week, as I remembered garden friends gathering in our Herbal Treasures Garden for a previously-scheduled event turned prayer gathering right in the middle of the garden.
A beautiful glow was cast on our Herbal Treasures of Hickory Hollow Garden by the golden September sunshine. Peace and calm filled our lovely garden. It was a lively place as butterflies flitted about, the bees were buzzily busy doing their thing as birds joyously sang their little sweet hearts out.
Like a last-minute hug before leaving for a long time, life felt secure and assured that all was well as we launched into the day. This morning was so especially gorgeous, it belied the potential evil lurking in the corners of the day. Looking back, it seemed impossible this serene day could take the turn it did in mere hours on 9-11.
22 years ago, on the Saturday afternoon following 9-11, a group of women gathered in our Herbal Treasures of Hickory Hollow Garden. It was September 15th. As the last big event of the 2001 gardening season, it was the grand finale.
This garden gathering had been planned months before. The program offered sweet fellowship time and sharing about our family’s visit to the Chelsea Flower Show — the ultimate garden party! Special refreshments included serving Sticky Toffee Pudding, a delight we discovered on our trip (long before becoming an internet sensation).
The Infamous Day Life Changed Forever
On 9-11 (Tuesday) life changed forever for the United States, and dare I say also the world. The life-altering events of that day impacted every aspect of life, immediately including regular schedules, special plans and everyday life as we knew it.
By Wednesday, I knew I had to decide whether to go forward with our planned event or not. After prayerful consideration, we determined we must continue with our plans. Press on we did!
The women gathered in quiet anticipation of needed time with others in a loving safe space — our garden. These are women of faith. Standing together in the center of the garden, we prayed deeply that day. We prayed over the horrific events unleashing unexpected destruction that week.
There were so many needs to cover with prayer, that it was almost difficult to know where to begin. We prayed for our country, leaders, and all who were touched by the unfolding horrors: affected families… destroyed businesses… lost lives… bystanders harmed, and the cities and areas affected. The list grew on!
He Holds The Whole World In His Hands
That day, each sweet lady left her 9-11 related concerns at Jesus’ feet right there in the garden. While we had difficulty finding all the words, He was there with us, as well (as with everyone calling out to Him everywhere). He is among us and He hears us, sees us, and knows us.
Jesus was with all of us wherever we were on the fateful day of 9-11. Before the dark events caused such a tragic outcome and in the aftermath, He was present. He continues to stay close to all of us today.
Jesus heard all the cries, saw our tears, witnessed the pain and unimaginable desecration. He brought us together with one another to get through the excruciating pain and dark uncertain days that followed. We found we were better together.
People were seeking answers. They needed assurances. They wanted something they could hold onto that was secure in this world gone mad. The truth is, we always are looking for these things. In the topsy-turvy days following 9-11, this quest spread like wildfire!
We Always Have Hope, Even Amidst the Ashes
There are many things we can count on:
- Life is always uncertain.
- Evil exists in the world.
- Our pain and struggles are real.
- Even on dark days, we are never alone.
- Every day of our lives, Jesus is with us.
- God loves all deeply (even bad guys).
- He keeps His promises.
- God — NEVER man — is “in charge.”
- Evil will be punished.
- Hope is found in Him, for all our needs.
- God hears our prayers and knows us.
- God answers our prayers in His time.
- His Will, His Plan supersedes man’s.
- God uses even bad things for His good.
- Man will NOT have “the last word.”
The truth is: even in our darkest days, we are never alone. God is with us. Jesus stands by us and will go forward with us as we press on through it all.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, Scripture tells us:
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (MSG)
“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the LORD your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” (CSB)
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or in dread of them, for the LORD your God is the One who is going with you. He will not desert you or abandon you.” (ASB)
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (NLT)
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