“For I am convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8: 37-39
To live in America is really an overwhelming experience much of the time and this new millenium has offered no shortage of horrendous occurances that have swept so many innocent men, women and children to their death like chaff thrown to the wind. A simple line, “the innocent will never last,” from Green Day’s latest album haunted me today. Their words in the song “When September Ends” combined with the gradual up beat of sober drums made me think of the ongoing war, hurricane Katrina’s destruction, and 9/11 among other home-front tragedies.
Frequently, I talk with young men/women who have been serving in Iraq or are going to be deployed there in the near future, stationed in numerous bases until then. I talk with them in my classes mostly. These soldiers have not only brought the crew cut to a whole new level of symbolism to the world, but they really are heroic souls. I have yet to meet one who does not believe passionately that serving in the war is totally worth it and a choice they are happy to make. They face endless ridicule from so much of the media but endure it with dignity…a silence that says “your hatred and venum only makes us stronger. Thanks.” When I worked for a short time at an Army/Navy surplus store last year, I remember fitting dessert boots for one guy who was preparing to leave his wife and family yet again to fight and it was obvious that it was a difficult time in his life. Another said yesterday that he was preparing to leave this weekend, without a hint of fear or doubt in his voice. A mother has a daughter serving overseas and the agony of waiting for regular news of her safety is etched all over her face. “Summer has come and passed/The innocent can never last/Wake me up when September ends.” These individuals are young (for the most part), innocent of any crimes, yet for a growing number, the imminence of death is sure.
Two weeks in the past, hurricane Katrina is a storm which will not be over until lives, relationships, roads, businesses and homes are restored. Now, the whole country is getting a healthy dose of the realities this tragedy has bestowed as “displaced peoples” have been shuffled to numerous states. They are sojourners who have lost so much and for many, that includes loved ones. As a girl in one of my classes recounts, her aunt and uncle, who fled from New Orleans last week, are looking after an LA girl who has lost her single-parent mother to a failing oxygen machine. Schools are hiring teachers temporarily who are hurricane victims as well as taking in students whose lives will never be the same. Even with restoration, the innocence of their lives before Katrina is gone. “The worst natural disaster in United States History,” says Fox news. The end of an era for the coast. Mardi Gras beads may never fly with the same gusto again…one of the few possible positive outcomes of Katrina. Bodies floating on the flood water’s merciless tide, bodies lying lifeless in hospital beds due to failing machines or lack or medication-thousands departed.
Now, on the fourth anniverary of the September eleventh attacks, America is still under high terror alert and the entire country exudes the aftermath of New York’s wounds. It is sobering to see the now cleaned-up Ground Zero, a large, earily silent area of emptiness where death claimed so many in minutes. Too many lives lost, too many women widowed and children left fatherless. “As my memory rests/but never forgets what (we) lost/Wake me up when September ends.”
The world is experiencing larger and more painful birth pains as time hurries on. The United States is continually being reminded that for all our resources and intelligence communities, we are weak and only human. It is so hard though wondering what may…or rather will come next. The last decade has proved that it is only a matter of time before another disasterwill strike. Personally, my natural response is to want to hide, to run back to Canada, a land of wickedness but basically disaster free or just to fear. How do I trust God in this time when any type of weapon is available for manufacturing by any nation, when a disaster could wipe out the whole country or the whole would? More importantly, how do the victims trust Him when they have experienced such trauma? I believe one tangible answer lies in the metal cross (shown above) found amongst the debris of the twin towers and still standing; a magnificent, glorious, undeniable testament to the presence and control of our Creator in every situation. What a sweet reminder of His salvation, comfort and grace God gave us through those two simple pieces of metal! Why do so many innocent have to die? Well, Christ was totally innocent in every aspect of the word, but He went to the most violent and tragic death there is…physical and spiritual seperation from His father because of our sins. Let our weary hearts remember: He is with us.