Today we as Americans are remembering a day in our history that we thought previously would never happen to us in this nation heretofore so mightily blessed by God.
We took the most precious word in our vocabulary for granted, “freedom.” But that day on this date, September 11, or as we have memorialized it, 911, was a day we can look back on to see that God had not left our nation to ruin, but instead showed us that He still loves us.
We sometimes don’t recognize what true, pure love looks like. No one who lives in this nation could have ever imagined we would be so tested. But hand-in-hand across the nation men, women, and even children all stood together to proclaim “God bless America”.
I stood frozen in disbelief in front of my T.V. as I witnessed the second plane fly into the second tower as it then erupted into flames. I cried out for God’s mercy as I realized what had happened.
Our faith in the future of our nation was surely being tested. Unfortunately, many aspects of our daily lives forever changed that day. But what if we as Christians in this nation were suddenly faced with a different kind of 911 where we would be attacked by an enemy even more sinister than what happened on that fateful day?
What if we were told we would be killed or beheaded if we worshipped any god but the god of the new world order? What if we had to stand by helplessly while our families were tortured in front of us because we refused to surrender to the dictates of the new government order? There is such a story in the Book of Maccabees included in the Books of the Apocrypha, found in a few versions of the Bible.
The story is told of a mother with seven sons who are tortured and killed in front of her, one by one, until the last and youngest who bravely declares to his mother that he will proudly declare his faith in God Almighty rather than deny his God for the sake of saving his mortal body. The mother had to watch as her son was mercilessly butchered, then, she herself fell into their hands and suffered an even worse fate.
I have always been in awe of the Orthodox Jewish people who have had such a deep reverence and fear of God that they counted their lives as dirt rather than cave into persecution and deny Him. Could we be that determined and brave when faced with the same circumstances?
Only those who have experienced God in their lives on an intimate level would be able to face death as valiantly as Stephen did in the book of Acts when he was stoned to death for his testimony of Jesus. Only those who have learned to recognize the leading of the Spirit of God would have the unshakable faith to stand for Jesus in the face of death. We can continue living our lives with business as usual; but there will come a day when we will be faced with making a choice regarding what we will do about Jesus. Will we compromise and stand with the world, or will we be sold out for Jesus and count our lives as nothing for the sake of the name of Jesus?
A day like the day on 911 could be the catalyst to determine where we stand. Can you answer the question: “Will you renounce the name of Jesus, or face the executioner?”
“But what does it say? ‘The Word is near you, even in your mouth (that is, the Word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’,” Romans 10:8-9.
God will always hear the cry of the righteous and move on their behalf to rescue them who call on Him out of a humble and contrite heart.
“The Lord is on my side, I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me,” Psalm 118:6-7.
Today we still have the freedom of choice to declare Jesus is Lord over our lives. It would be a terrible fate for anyone to delay making that decision and find out too late they have missed it. God honored the faith of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego when they were threatened with a den of lions and a fiery furnace. Miracles always happen when we refuse to surrender to compromise and stand firm in the power of the name of Jesus. The world will stand in fear of those who dare to believe their God and be faithful to the end. Will you be one of these?
~ Jeanne Hibbard Bowen