In tribute to the victims of the WTC
by Michelle Ann Earl, age 16 1/2, on Sept. 11, 2001
We were given permission to post the following e-mail for your edification.
"Patrick Wallace" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "NETchurch Mailing List" <email@example.com>
Subject: [netchurch] Some Thoughts
Date sent: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 00:16:12 +0800
Tonight while I began to pray with my wife, I was impressed immediately with some words that had been percolating in my spirit for a few days.
I felt immense love from God for America, then I heard the Lord say: "Oh, how I have longed to take you under my wings like a hen does for her chicks." This brought to mind the words of Jesus as he last saw Jerusalem, when he prophesied its destruction. However, I did not sense at all a desire to destroy from the Lord, but love and grief, and I was impressed that if anything, the events of the last week were allowed to happen out of immeasurable love as a wake-up call to the United States so that Americans would turn back to God before it was too late--he still desires to take us under his wings and he is by no means through with us.
Then I heard the Lord say, "Who will contend for me?" To contend does not just mean to fight or take a stand, it also implies that we persuade, rebuke, rebut, and proclaim. For too long we have been silent and have not taken a stand against things we know to be wrong. Then when we do take a stand, it is for the wrong reason, or we are afraid to explain why because we are ashamed of our faith and our God. It is time to be silent no longer, but to fight, take a stand, persuade, rebuke, rebut, and proclaim. This is what God is requiring of us at this time--as Americans, we in general know what is right and what we should do, but we have not always stood for what is right and have not always done what we should.
The love of God for America, not his desire to judge, has been impressed on me most. His grieving is real, both for the lives that were lost and for the evil behind this all--our own sin that brought it down upon our heads, and the evil of those who wish to destroy.
In regards to God's love, God has brought back to me again what he impressed on me at the end of August. I was in Urumqi, which is essentially at the end of the train line in far western China, trying to get train tickets to go home to Changchun, which is in far northeastern China. This would be like trying to go from Los Angeles almost to New York. Because things had turned out to be much more expensive than I thought, I was down to only about $120 (I don't have a credit card), so I was very worried whether or not my money would hold up. In theory, if I made all of the train connections and did not get stuck on the way home in some city waiting for train tickets, I could make it on the cash I had. However, all of the students and tourists were trying to go home at the same time, so all of the trains were totally booked up. It seemed impossible. If I got stuck somewhere in the middle of China, there would be no way I could get money to go home, and no way to get any help: I would really be stuck. God came through and promised that I would make it home safely, and that I would get back in time for the beginning of the classes I teach. Then God said something very interesting: What if I didn't make it back? What if I got stuck somewhere with no money? Would that mean that he loved me any less? Did I really believe everything worked out for the good for those who love him? If so, then no matter what happened, whether I thought it was good or bad, I should count it as a blessing from him and as a part of his purpose, even if it meant that I was stuck in the middle of China with no money and no earthly way to get home.
For the five days it took for me to get home, I was constantly reminded of this every time I began to worry about making the next train connection. However, God was true to me and I never missed a connection and always had enough money to buy the next train ticket. I only had to stay in a hotel for half a night--the rest of the five days was on the train or waiting in train stations. I had a lot of time on my hands during the trip home, so I began to think of some of the things that have happened in my life that I consider inconvenient or bad. Seven years ago my mother died of cancer, on my birthday, no less. When she was sick, we were basically given the choice of leaving Japan for good and never coming back, or staying in Japan but not being with her or going to her funeral. My mother knew how hard we had worked to go to Japan and how bitterly we were trying to stay there, so she encouraged us before her death not to go back to the US to be with her. We chose to stay in Japan. She actually visited us in Japan while she was battling cancer, then died after returninng home several weeks later. Then, two years ago my eldest son was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. It was a horrific time. God saw us through it and our son is still very much alive and healthy today, but I would not wish that trial on anyone. I never want to hear one of my children ask me, "Am I going to die?" again, especially coming minutes after a doctor assured me that the answer was almost certainly "yes"--he was going to die. Then, right after coming back to Japan from successful medical treatment in the US, we were forced to leave Japan with no money and no place to go. Most of my life since I was 11 was spent in Japan--it was the only real place that I could call home. In less than a month, we had to dispose of everything we owned. Years of accumulated treasures went into the trash. We left Japan with only the clothes on our backs: Even the Christmas presents we had just bought for our children a month before had to either go into the trash or go into storage in the vain hope that someday we would come back to get them. We came to China because that was the only viable place we could go to on what little money we had. Even then we had no working visa or job in China to look forward to.
I looked back on all of these things and many other things that I haven't even mentioned, and I felt God say, "Count it all as a blessing." For some of these things that happened, to see any blessing or any good in it at all is the hardest thing I could ever do. Yet, I felt God saying: Do you really believe that I am good? Do you really believe that all things work out for the good for those who love me? Do you really believe that nothing will ever separate you from my love? Do you really believe that I will never leave you or forsake you? If so, you must count everything that has happened in your life as a blessing from me, even if it seemed bad at the time, even if it seemed senseless, even if it brought you great grief and sadness. Truly, we are in God's hands and everything that happens is either from him or something he allows. It is only through counting everything as a blessing from him that I have even begun to make some sense of some of the various trials we have went through, for without understanding God's love for us even in the midst of trial, even in the trial itself, it is often impossible to understand God's purpose for our lives. God is love--whether we can feel his love or not at the time, the events of our lives are reflections of his love, and we need to acknowledge that.
No words can comfort those who have suffered loss. No clichés or aphorisms can take away the sting of sadness. To see God's blessing in such times can be a very hard thing to do, and it by no means will take away the grief or allay the pain. However, to count even such times as a blessing from him is to know him and his ways, and to learn to praise and thank him even when it looks like there is nothing to thank him for.
SEE ANOTHER E-MAIL BELOW:
I have felt a release in my spirit to share some prophetic dreams, visions and revelations. In this e-mail let me first share a prophetic dream:
The dream was vividly and graphically one of great devastation. All around me was death, destruction and a wounded mass of humanity. I did not know what caused the catastrophe but it was horrible. People were screaming and crying out for help in great desperation. As I found myself standing in the midst of this scenario, I felt so helpless and useless.
As I stood in the midst of this scene, I saw many other people just standing around doing nothing to meet the needs of the hurting and crying multitudes. Then I strongly felt the Spirit urging me to begin to reach out to the people nearest met to minister to their needs. As I began to touch their wounds the Spirit gave me a simple song to sing. As I began to quietly sing this song, the Spirit led me to do what I could do to alleviate the great carnage and suffering. I kept thinking as I began to serve and sing, what I as only one person could do to help in this seemingly hopeless situation. But as I became obedient to the Lord in serving, the other people who had previously been standing around, also joined me in reaching out the needs of the suffering wounded. As they ministered, they joined me in singing the simple melody that the Spirit had given me. The individual voices soon became a chorus of angelic sounding music as if it were one voice in a united orchestration being lifted in praise to God.
I discerned in my sprit that it was a picture of the Body of Christ
challenged and encouraged to minister to people in some catastrophic
events. Helplessness gave way to a swelling of unity by individual
and collectively as the Body of Christ in various expressions of gifts
out to meet the needs of a devastated world.
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