World Trade Center -
A Moment From Eternity

Dennis Hartman

Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. James 4:13-16

On Sept 11, 2001, our nation saw for the first time the terrific results of terrorism. The scene will be seared into our minds until the day we die. We became glued to our televisions. Along with the people of New York City, we watched in horror as the twin towers of the World Trade Center cascaded to the ground. Thousands of people went into eternity. All the rescue plans failed them. Some jumped from the top floors while others simply fell out. Many of those who were well trained to give aid gave their lives.

Yet, the morning started so peacefully. People boarding flights from Boston to California, laughing and singing. Others on the subway trains ready to face the same old grind. People in coffee shops ordering their usual to give them that extra boost. Others were in the towers struggling with deadlines and the pressures of the secular society that we have so effectively and proudly created. Two towers, gleaming in the morning sunlight, showed forth the power and glory of the dollar, Wall Street, America and our politically correct secular society.

It was a grand morning, but in the air something strange was happening. Jets were leaving their courses. Air traffic controllers, realizing the problem, informed the most powerful air force in the world to intercept airplanes that were out of control. As the wayward jets approached their target, people looked out the windows of their safe towers not realizing what was going to befall them. The first plane hit and the fire alarms went off. 18 minutes later, another airplane hit the second tower. We saw people jumping, but to no avail. Within minutes, both towers made their way to the ground, killing all that were in them. The news flashed around the world in seconds. The rest of mankind watched it all and, like us, could not believe what happened. One minute all was well; the next it was a burning inferno. Are we capable of explaining this tragic event? This much is certain; when all the action was finished, thousands of people stood before the Almighty God of Creation on that beautiful Tuesday morning.

As the news was flashed, many reporters said that the symbols of our modern secular society had been smashed. For almost two days, few invoked the name of God. The usual political speeches did, but the media stopped short. President George Bush made it clear that this was an act of war and later started preparing our nation for war. However, by the end of the week the media joined in with the grassroot cries to God.

There are many theories as to why this happened and who did it. The fingers keep pointing to one man in Afghanistan. No matter who did this, our President declared war on "all terrorism" and Israel may finally see the light at the end of their tunnel of their problem with terrorism.

But are we as a "secular society" prepared for war? As the news media coverage continued, the term "secular," boldly pronounced at first, slowly dropped from their reports. But they did tell the truth. Our American society has come to a point that we think that we can do what we please. We have more people with a college education then any other nation in the world. The educational system in our nation has long forgotten God, although our schools once opened each day with prayer and Bible reading. Today we open our schools with a moment of silence to reflect on "doing a good job" for the day.

Our whole society and business world is consumed with making not just profits, but obscene profits. What matters for many companies is not quality or customer support but profits. By six o'clock that evening, a news reporter was holding a handful of documents which were blown all over the area by the crash which put this all in perspective. Some were profit reports, others were insurance documents, and the list went on. She said that hours before these were very important. Now, she said, they were worthless rubble. Did anyone give pause to think about that truth? "Go to now, ye that say, to day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:" The World Trade Center represented the best of our secular, financial, and industrial machine. This Center was part of someone's retirement plan and financial future. It lies in ashes, with the mangled bodies of those who, in a sense, worshiped in what is now a mangled twisted steel temple of secularism.

By Thursday we saw the media taking God off our secular shelves and putting Him back into our secular society. After all, there is a real use for Him now. All were overwhelmed. We in our secular society have finally gotten a handle on God, and He is to be allowed only as we see fit. Only when there is a great need for comfort that we cannot quite handle will we look to him. Millions called on God and exercised what little faith they had left. Even the national service in Washington was more a show of political correctness and "unity" against those who generated this crime then a humble calling on God. My point is not to condemn, but to suggest that God has standards too. While he is merciful, He is also just. The Bible has given us copious examples of how we are to approach Him. We are to humble and cleanse ourselves and worship the only true God. God does not give into our political correct views of Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never slumbers or sleeps. After seeing many priests and preachers, who don't believe the scriptures and support abortion, pray when the need is so great, I just wonder. While this conflict goes on, we should really give pause to ponder our view of God. Yet, because of this tragic event, I must stop wondering aloud. I too turn my heart to Him on behalf of all the lost souls, and the hurting in both cities.

This may be the war that ends Terrorism or it may bring our secular society to its knees. Because one has the mightiest army in the world does not guarantee a victory. We won our liberty from England who, at that time, had the greatest army in the world. Rome also comes to mind. We say that times have changed with modern technology, but I am sure other great powers thought so too. I fear that because we figured out the correct role of God in our secular society, we will have a problem. Still, hope springs eternal and this tragedy may bring a huge revival that may spread over this nation by the hand of a merciful God.

All of this is a reminder of how short and fragile our lives really are. Most of those in the Center never dreamed that they would meet God that morning. The Bible says, "For what is your life? It is even as a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." This is truth. We must give pause to think over life itself, and not just the meaning of life. There were thousands of human beings in those building and on the four airplanes. Few, if any, thought it would happen to them. Now many of them will never be found. It was all so fast, so sudden. As the reporter held that handful of papers in the air, it gave me pause to consider my ways and hence this article. What is more important then one's own eternal soul? Is your job, education, health, wealth, position in society, or your political views more important? After this event, those things fail us. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. May God help us and send a revival to our dry and spiritually parched land. May God give direction to our president, and comfort to those who lost so much.

Becasue of the nature of this article and the flood of emotions that accompany this event, we at IMARC would love to hear your responses if your viewpoint differs. We would therefore be happy to consider any such responses for publication on IMARC. Please feel free to respond.

Pastor Hartman has been in the ministry for twenty six years. He graduated from the Institute of Christian Service of Bob Jones University. He also holds B.S. and M.S degrees from Columbus State University. He has traveled once to Russia, three times to the Ukraine, twice to England in a humble effort to help the missionaries spread the Gospel of Christ. If you would like to contact Pastor Hartman, please feel free to do so.