By Linda Santavicca
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent. John 17:3
The alarm goes off. It’s 6:30 am, September 11th. With great anticipation, I get ready for the day in front of me. As a producer for an established event designer, we are scheduled to coordinate that evening’s gala for the opening of New York City’s Opera, “The Flying Dutchman” with guest, Honoree Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Anxious to get to the production office, I grab a seat on the crowded subway car as it makes its way down the west side of Manhattan. Before pulling into the 14th Street station, our train comes to a screeching halt. Mechanical glitches are a frequent occurrence on the NYC subway lines so waiting a few extra minutes is nothing of great concern. However, the few minutes lapse into half an hour. What is the holdup? Word travels through the subway line; a plane accidently crashed into the World Trade Center. Finally, we pull into the station. Once outside, I call the office. No service. Phone lines are dead. In front of me, throngs of people are staring up at a huge black cloud hovering over the downtown area.
Making my way through a crowd of pedestrians, I get to my destination. My co-workers are listening to updates from a transistor radio. Coming through the airwaves is a woman screaming about the other tower. We run out to Hudson Street and watch in horror as the second tower comes crashing down. Amidst the sweeping tornado of dust, we hear the exploding, echoing sounds from the tower. Clap. Clap. Clap as each floor from the top hits the one below. This is not just an accidental plane crash.
The World Trade Center, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon…what next? Panic sets in. As I race up Eighth Avenue, a co-worker pulls up in a van and I jump in. Eventually I make it home. Feeling helpless, I watch the news in disbelief. New in my faith, I ask, “Why, God?”
In unison, people from all parts of the globe ask the same question, how can a loving God allow such evil to destroy what He has perfectly created. God, where are you? In His sovereign voice, He replies, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?” (Job 40:2) I am scared. Yet, His assurance, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…”(Genesis 28) provides me with the comfort I need at that very moment.
The next day, the city is under ‘shut down’. Aimlessly, I run through Central Park and smell the potent fumes of death infiltrating the clear blue sky. 2,000 lives buried in the rubble. In spite of my fear, I know, “…that in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling and will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27)
When my thoughts relive the seismic horror of it all, I also remember it was God’s strength that stilled the panic in my heart. God’s promise to protect us is His never-ending love for us. Regardless of what happens, “…neither death nor life… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). We serve a great God who we may never understand; yet, we know we will never be separated from Him. Our comfort is His promise; eternity with Him.
As a transit hub and business center, the World Trade Center was very much a part of my world while living in New York. For a number of reasons, I could have been there on that horrific day. But, I was not and I ask, “Why, God?”