By Kelly Carr
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On one hand, it doesn’t seem so long ago. I can remember the details of where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. I was at work, and my husband called to say a plane had hit a World Trade Center tower. I thought, What a devastating accident. When the second occurred, my coworkers and I turned on the TV in a conference room to find out more. I recall the horror, the fear, the sickening feeling that gripped me as we watched the live broadcast and saw the towers crumble.
On the other hand, those attacks seem in a past era. I am a different person than I was 15 years ago—back then I wasn’t yet a mom and we hadn’t yet started our church or moved to the city; in so many ways I was in a different life situation in 2001, and it seems even farther removed than a mere 15 years. Our world is different now. We have added security at airports and big events. We are more suspicious. Additional terrorist attacks since then and more violence across our country even this summer have made us all feel less secure, more on-edge.
It’s challenging to consider this week’s topic of joy. How can we have joy in a world where 9/11 happens? where crimes of hate still occur? Despite tragedy, God still provides joy. Small moments and big milestones occur that bring happiness. We can have joy in the knowledge that God delights in us, has plans for us, and stands by us.
In my mind joy is coupled with hope as we strive to anticipate an eternity where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). For now we can only imagine such a day when we will fully experience true joy in God’s presence. Until then, let’s call on his Spirit to help us seek joy here on earth.