Summary: How do we deal with Disasters - whether National or Personal?



September 11: Chronology of terror

September 12, 2001 Posted: 12:27 PM EDT (1627 GMT)

8:45 a.m. (all times are EDT): A hijacked passenger jet, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston, Massachusetts, crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center, tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it afire.

9:03 a.m.: A second hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston, crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center and explodes. Both buildings are burning.

9:17 a.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports.

9:21 a.m.: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed.

9:30 a.m.: President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack."

9:40 a.m.: The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted.

9:43 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, sending up a huge plume of smoke. Evacuation begins immediately.

9:45 a.m.: The White House evacuates.

9:57 a.m.: Bush departs from Florida.

10:05 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris forms and slowly drifts away from the building.

10:08 a.m.: Secret Service agents armed with automatic rifles are deployed into Lafayette Park across from the White House.

10:10 a.m.: A portion of the Pentagon collapses.

10:10 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, also hijacked, crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh.

10:13 a.m.: The United Nations building evacuates, including 4,700 people from the headquarters building and 7,000 total from UNICEF and U.N. development programs.

10:22 a.m.: In Washington, the State and Justice departments are evacuated, along with the World Bank.

10:24 a.m.: The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States are being diverted to Canada.

10:28 a.m.: The World Trade Center's north tower collapses from the top down as if it were being peeled apart, releasing a tremendous cloud of debris and smoke.

10:45 a.m.: All federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10.46 a.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell cuts short his trip to Latin America to return to the United States.

10.48 a.m.: Police confirm the plane crash in Pennsylvania.

10:53 a.m.: New York's primary elections, scheduled for Tuesday, are postponed.

10:54 a.m.: Israel evacuates all diplomatic missions.

10:57 a.m.: New York Gov. George Pataki says all state government offices are closed.

11:02 a.m.: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urges New Yorkers to stay at home and orders an evacuation of the area south of Canal Street.

11:16 a.m.: CNN reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing emergency-response teams in a precautionary move.

11:18 a.m.: American Airlines reports it has lost two aircraft. American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles, had 81 passengers and 11 crew aboard. Flight 77, a Boeing 757 en route from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, had 58 passengers and six crew members aboard. Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.

11:26 a.m.: United Airlines reports that United Flight 93, en route from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, has crashed in Pennsylvania. The airline also says that it is "deeply concerned" about United Flight 175.

11:59 a.m.: United Airlines confirms that Flight 175, from Boston to Los Angeles, has crashed with 56 passengers and nine crew members aboard. It hit the World Trade Center's south tower.

12:04 p.m.: Los Angeles International Airport, the destination of three of the crashed airplanes, is evacuated.

12:15 p.m: San Francisco International Airport is evacuated and shut down. The airport was the destination of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

12:15 p.m.: The Immigration and Naturalization Service says U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are on the highest state of alert, but no decision has been made about closing borders.

12:30 p.m.: The FAA says 50 flights are in U.S. airspace, but none are reporting any problems.

1:04 p.m.: Bush, speaking from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, says that all appropriate security measures are being taken, including putting the U.S. military on high alert worldwide. He asks for prayers for those killed or wounded in the attacks and says, "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

1:27 p.m.: A state of emergency is declared by the city of Washington.

1:44 p.m.: The Pentagon says five warships and two aircraft carriers will leave the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia, to protect the East Coast from further attack and to reduce the number of ships in port. The two carriers, the USS George Washington and the USS John F. Kennedy, are headed for the New York coast. The other ships headed to sea are frigates and guided missile destroyers capable of shooting down aircraft.

1:48 p.m.: Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base aboard Air Force One and flies to an Air Force base in Nebraska.

2 p.m.: Senior FBI sources tell CNN they are working on the assumption that the four airplanes that crashed were hijacked as part of a terrorist attack.

2:30 p.m.: The FAA announces there will be no U.S. commercial air traffic until noon EDT Wednesday at the earliest.

2:49 p.m.: At a news conference, Giuliani says that subway and bus service are partially restored in New York City. Asked about the number of people killed, Giuliani says, "I don't think we want to speculate about that -- more than any of us can bear."

3:55 p.m.: Karen Hughes, a White House counselor, says the president is at an undisclosed location, later revealed to be Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, and is conducting a National Security Council meeting by phone. Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are in a secure facility at the White House. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is at the Pentagon.

3:55 p.m.: Giuliani now says the number of critically injured in New York City is up to 200 with 2,100 total injuries reported.

4 p.m: CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor reports that U.S. officials say there are "good indications" that Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, suspected of coordinating the bombings of two U.S. embassies in 1998, is involved in the attacks, based on "new and specific" information developed since the attacks.

4:06 p.m.: California Gov. Gray Davis dispatches urban search-and-rescue teams to New York.

4:10 p.m.: Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex is reported on fire.

4:20 p.m.: U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he was "not surprised there was an attack (but) was surprised at the specificity." He says he was "shocked at what actually happened -- the extent of it."

4:25 p.m.: The American Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange say they will remain closed Wednesday.

4:30 p.m.: The president leaves Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska aboard Air Force One to return to Washington.

5:15 p.m.: CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports fires are still burning in part of the Pentagon. No death figures have been released yet.

5:20 p.m.: The 47-story Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex collapses. The evacuated building is damaged when the twin towers across the street collapse earlier in the day. Other nearby buildings in the area remain ablaze.

2. Sept. 11, 2001 was without a doubt a National Disaster. In one way or another it has affected all of us. In Joel’s day there is another National Disaster, it was far more devastating than even September 11th.

From it we learn how to respond to National Disasters, or even personal ones that take place in our individual lives.

3. Dealing with National Disasters.

Joel 1:1-20 (NKJV)

1 The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.

2 Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers?

3 Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.

4 What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.

5 Awake, you drunkards, and weep; And wail, all you drinkers of wine, Because of the new wine, For it has been cut off from your mouth.

6 For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion.

7 He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.

8 Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth.

9 The grain offering and the drink offering Have been cut off from the house of the LORD; The priests mourn, who minister to the LORD.

10 The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails.

11 Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers, For the wheat and the barley; Because the harvest of the field has perished.

12 The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree-- All the trees of the field are withered; Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.

13 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail, you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God.

14 Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the LORD your God, And cry out to the LORD.

15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.

16 Is not the food cut off before our eyes, Joy and gladness from the house of our God?

17 The seed shrivels under the clods, Storehouses are in shambles; Barns are broken down, For the grain has withered.

18 How the animals groan! The herds of cattle are restless, Because they have no pasture; Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.

19 O LORD, to You I cry out; For fire has devoured the open pastures, And a flame has burned all the trees of the field.

20 The beasts of the field also cry out to You, For the water brooks are dried up, And fire has devoured the open pastures.

I. For starters, the Disaster Wiped-out the Economy. 1:4

A. The Source of the Disaster?

1. The Agent – God! 1:15; 2:11

Boice, “The most important thing about Joel’s handling of the disaster is that, he sees God as responsible for it. This does not mean that God is the author of sin…As we get farther into the book we discover that the locust invasion is a foretaste of the coming day of God’s judgment and is sent in advance of that day as a warning of it. In chapter 2 where the locust invasion is treated as a symbol of the coming Day of the Lord, Joes makes very clear that God causes both. Are we to blame Russia or Iran or Islam? The wise will see things as having come from God.”

Do our political leaders or even religious leaders see God’s Sovereign Hand behind our National woes?

Larry Crab tells of his grandfathers death in 1917 due to a flu epidemic which killed thousands of people. Larry’s dad was one of four children, and was told by his mother what happened:

“I was sitting beside the bed. Somehow I knew this was the end, and for the first time I cried in front of you. God was taking my Charlie after giving us so shout a time together. He was leaving me a widow with four children. What was I to do? The Papa looked at me. He recognized me; he sat up and put his arms around me. For a moment I thought he was going to get well. Then he said, “Laura, Laura, don’t cry. Hush, God is in it” and then he was gone.”

2. The Avenue.

a. Devouring Locust. 4

Phillips, “When food is abundant locus begin to multiply until their numbers reach astronomical proportions. The more they eat, the more they breed. In a breeding area there can be 5,000 eggs in a square yard. At intervals females deposit their eggs pods, four inches deep in damp soil or sand where conditions are favorable for hatching.

Each female will lay at least three hundred pods in her lifetime and each pod contains up to 100 eggs. Each pod remains in the ground from 10 to 20 days. When the eggs hatch, the hatchlings find their way to the surface, shed their first skin, and become hoppers. The insects will enter a gregarious stage in which they seek each others company and constantly touch one another. This change of behavior triggers a change in color from green to yellow, black and red.

Then the locust form bands and begin to march. Small bands merge to form larger ones and all of them forward together in the same direction. Marching forward, feeding as they go, the locusts pass through 5 stages of growth, shedding their skins in each stage.

A medium-sized swarm may comprise more than a billion locust, and some swarms reach prodigious proportions with an estimated million million locusts extending over two hundred square miles.

Having no maps, homing instinct or control over where they go, locust simply ride the prevailing winds. During its five or six months of life, each locust travels between two and three thousand miles, breeding as it goes. With teeth like saws, they devour grass and leaves, fruit and foliage – everything green and edible; they attack the young branches of trees and the bark on trunks; they consume corn in the field and fall on vines, willows, and even bitter hemp; they strip palm trees bare.”

b. Drought. 12,17,20

c. Devastating fire. 19-20

It is hard to imagine how devastating these three disasters were!

B. The Severity of the disaster.

1. It affected the Land – grain and barley represented their food supply. 9-11, 16-17

2. It affected the very Landscape – vines and trees – keep in mind that wine was a table beverage, like water is to us today. 5-7, 10-12, 19

3. It affected the Livestock. 18,20

4. It affected the Lakes and streams. 20

David Levy, “The judgment upon Judah affected every aspect of the land. First, their food supply was destroyed. Second, the prospect of future food was nonexistent. The seed was rotten under its clod because the drought and hot sun destroyed the shoots the moment they appeared. Thus with noting to harvest the barns lay in disrepair. Third, the blazing sun burned up the pastures, scorched the trees, and dried up the rivers. Without pasture and water, the beasts would not survive for long.”

II. Furthermore, the disaster affected Everybody.

A. The town Council…Elders. 2

B. The Citizens. 2,5

C. The Carnal – drunkards. 5

D. The Caretakers of the crops – farmers, vinedressers. 11

E. The Clergy – priests. 9, 13

III. Finally, disaster can be a blessing Eventually.

A. First, Get a word from God’s Prophets. 1:1

Today we have it in God’s Written Word. 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Andres lived in the jungles of Columbia, he had been asking himself questions about life – one night he began fiddling with a transistor radio, suddenly he picked up the words, “The light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven…”

That very night the moon did not give its light! Though Andres didn’t know it, a total lunar eclipse covered the entire jungle with blackness. The very next day Jim Walton, a Bible translator arrived, preaching the gospel in that jungle. Later Andres wrote, “When I saw you reading that book, I knew it was the book from the radio, the book that had the truth. And when you said it was God’s Word, and you wanted to put it in my language, I determined to help you.”

That boy got saved and spent the next 18 years helping Jim translate the Bible into his language.

B. Furthermore, accept God’s wise Providence.

Glenn Chambers was a passenger on a DC-4 on Feb 19, 1947. His flight was bound for Ecuador, it crashed into the 14,000 ft high towering peak. Before he left the Miami Airport he wrote a note to his mom on a piece of paper that he had found on the floor of the terminal. On the back was one single word – Why! Between mailing the note and its arrival, Glenn was killed.

She opened the letter and the first thing she saw was this huge WHY. We often ask why when tragedy hits, but the real question is WHO! That would be God!

“God is too kind, to do anything cruel;

Too wise to make a mistake;

Too deep to explain Himself.”

C. Thirdly, allow for the Grieving Process. 5a, 8, 11, 12b, 13, 16b

“The most remarkable thing is how Joel deals with the disaster. To begin with, he does not treat the disaster lightly, as certain kinds of Christian people tend to do…far from playing down the disaster, they actually magnified it. So far as the locust invasion is concerned, Joel calls it the worst thing that has ever happened to Israel.”

It is ok to grieve.

Edgar Jackson, “Grief is a young widow trying to raise her 3 children alone. Grief is the man so filled with shocked uncertainty and confusion that he strikes out at the nearest person. Grief is a mother waling daily to a nearby cemetery to stand quietly and alone a few minutes before going about the tasks of the day. She knows that part of her is in the cemetery just as part of her is in her daily work.

Grief is the silent knife-life terror and sadness that comes a hundred times a day, when you start to speak to someone who is no longer there. Grief is the emptiness that comes when you eat alone after eating with another for many years. Grief is teaching yourself to go to bed without saying good night to the one who had died.

Grief is the helpless wishing that things were different when you know they are not and never will be again. Grief is a whole cluster of adjustments, apprehensions, and uncertainties that strike life in its forward progress and make it difficult to redirect the energies of life.”

Yes even after getting a word from God, and truly trusting in His wise sovereign will, we till feel the sting of grief.

D. Next, acknowledge God’s Purpose. 3:17

Everything has a purpose, and that purpose is that “I might know Him!”

Wayne, a pastor in Hawaii, was given a certificate to eat at a nice restaurant; this allowed him to chow down for $100 dollars. They decided to dress up and live like wealthy folks; they even borrowed a friend’s expensive car. They ordered the most expensive thing on the menu.

The check came to just under 100 dollars so he said, “When the bill came, I said, “Honey why don’t you give me the certificate.” She said, “I don’t have it, I thought you brought it.” I said, “You have to have it! Your suppose to have it! You’re the wife!” She persisted, “I don’t have it.” And I thought we are in deep yogurt. Here we are. We look rich, we act rich, and we even smell rich. But if we don’t have that certificate, it invalidates everything!”

He goes on to say, “There are times in our life when we can look holy, we can act holy, and we can even smell holy. But without a relationship with the Lord – we have nothing! That relationship validates everything else!”

Knowing God validates everything in our lives, He is the essence of our very life. And like it or not, suffering often speeds up the process of knowing more about Him.

E. Finally, Go to God in Prayer. 14, 19a

A simple one word prayer will do – Help!

Tim Quinn, “My old Macintosh laptop simple would not run the Mac Bible software anymore. Though I had worked with it for hours, nothing would help. My wife suggested that I call the owner of the software for help, but no, I knew what I was doing.

Finally after I had exhausted every last idea, I gave in and called the Mac Bible corporation. The person on the other end of the line was none other than the man who wrote the Mac Bible software. He gave me a brief set of instructions; I took them down and hung up the phone. In minutes my computer software was up and running. I just had to go to the man who wrote the program.”

The One who is writing out lives is God. He alone can help us, so why are we so reluctant to go to Him?


1. Sept 11th surely qualified for a National Disaster – it affected our economy, and in a way Everybody in our Nation, and it can Eventually be a blessing if we:

Get a word from God’s Prophetic Word…

Rest in God’s wise loving Providence…

Allow the Grieving Process to take place…

Seek God’s Purpose…

And Go to God in Prayer…

2. Of course it does not have to be a national disaster for it to be a personal one, those people in the Trade Center were not the only one’s who died that day. Was it any less tragic for the family who lost a loved one in a car accident? Or the countless thousands who died in a hospital bed?

3. Jonathan Thigpen of Wheaton Illinois was diagnosed with Lou Geris Disease – a cruel incurable illness of which there is no cure. He writes:

“I remember walking out of the doctor’s office and deep in the pit of my stomach there was a feeling of overwhelming fear. I can’t describe it other than it felt like I was being hugged by something so dark and so horrible that I can’t describe it.”

Then he heard a voice in his mind, it was that of his dads. Jonathan noticed that his dad would disappear for an hour or two everyday. One day he invited Jonathan to go with him, they spent the time visiting hospitals. His dad, a doctor would always pull out his New Testament and Psalms and read from Psa. 46.

Psalms 46:1-3 (NKJV)

1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A song for Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Jonathan writes, “By the time I got to my car that cloud of darkness had begun to lift because I realized that God was still in control. I didn’t have any more answers than I had had when I was in the doctors office five minutes before, but I can tell you this: Fear cannot stand in the face of a faith in a God who does not change. My fear had left.”

In the months that followed, Jonathan’s body weakened and then he was gone, but before he testified to all who would listen that God is a very present help in a time of trouble.

Johnny Palmer Jr.