Twenty-one years ago, I witnessed a local devastation that went global within seconds. The plight of 9/11 brought all four corners of the world together on its knees. And when I reel back to that day in 2001, one question still resonates with me. “Why, God?”
One Day Forever
By Linda Froehlich 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. With great anticipation, I get ready for the day in front of me. As a producer for a world-renowned event designer, I am scheduled to coordinate the evening’s gala for the opening of the New York City 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 with the MTA so waiting a few extra minutes is not of great concern. However, the few minutes lapse into half an hour, then 45 minutes. What’s the problem? Word travels through the subway cars: a plane accidentally crashed into the World Trade Center. Finally, we pull into the station. Once outside, I call the office. No cell 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 staticky 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 hits the next one below. This is not just an accidental plane crash.
Very new in my faith, I ask, “Why, God?” And I am not alone. The world cries out, “How can this happen?” “How can a loving God allow such destruction?” “How can a mighty God allow the evil one to take 3,000 innocent lives?” All these questions and in His sovereign voice, He replies, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go” (Genesis 28:15b).
When my thoughts relive the seismic horror of it all, I also remembered it was God’s strength that stilled the panic in my heart. The same hands that allowed the tallest buildings (of that time) to smolder down to dust were the same hands that reached down to save a broken sparrow. It doesn’t make sense yet His never-ending love for us comes in the way of a promise, that we will have eternity with Him. 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 will never be separated from Him.
As one who worked downtown, the World Trade Center was very much a part of my professional life. I could have been in the towers on that horrific day. But I was not, and I ask, “Why, God?”