Summary: Looking back at 9/11 and what it was that help get us through and what we need in order to continue on!
For me, serving as a soldier during 9/11 was one of the most difficult moments of my life. At the time of the attacks I was serving the United States Army at Schofield barracks, Hawaii. I can remember getting called out to P.T. earlier than normal. We had a mass formation with the post Commander. He came out and told us what had happened, that the United States of America had just been attacked and we as soldiers had better get ready for the inevitable. WAR.
Life had changed for all of us at that point forever. It seemed that fear crept itself into our daily lives once 9/11 took place. As a soldier, we had to be very cautious when wearing our uniforms outside of base. We never really knew who was an enemy and who wasn’t. The fear of not knowing who was for us and who was against us ran our lives in what we did and where we went. Words like jihad, Taliban and al-Qaida became as common to us as Sponge Bob or X-box is to most of you today.
Waiting and waiting for the inevitable. Knowing that war was around the corner and not knowing when we would deploy was a difficult thing.
It wasn’t until early 2003 that I was on my way to war. We were being shipped out to fight in Iraq. Many thoughts ran through my mind, many fears. As we sat in a crowded gymnasium waiting to board the plane I realized that I was supposed to be the one that was strong for others to confide in, I was to be the one that could offer encouraging words and share with the young soldiers about having faith in God that He would get us through this and keep us safe. The fear of responsibility, the fear of inadequacy, and the fear of realization of war was alive and well in my life.
We boarded the plane and the long flight over seas was a surreal experience. Sobbing and the sound of the engine were about the only sounds that were heard during that flight. I questioned myself, “How was I to give comfort and guidance to others as I was in search of comfort and guidance as well?” I too was feeling the same sadness in my heart.
I had small children I had to leave behind. I didn’t know if I would ever hold them in my arms again. Sure I was a highly trained soldier but what if my training alone wasn’t enough. What if I made a mistake? What if I wasn’t alert and paying attention when I needed to? What if?
What if something happened to my children when I was away? I mean accidents happen every day don’t they? I knew that I wouldn’t be there for them, that if something bad happened while I was away, I could do nothing about it. I knew that I had to rely on something greater than myself, something much bigger.
- I had to dig deep down into my soul and have my faith 100% on Jesus! I found peace and comfort in His Word.
Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Don’t these words sound good? To me, Jesus is saying, "I am here for you. I am gentle. I will be gentle with you. I understand what you are going through. I understand your pain. I want to help you, soothe you, and make it better. Come to me. Lean on me. Trust me with your life, your problems and your pain. I can ease the pain. I can forgive the sin. I can make things better." This comfort I felt during my deployment is what I want to talk about with you this morning.