Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rising From the Ashes

When you hit ground zero, look up. God wants to restore you.
Thirteen years ago this week I was in the middle of the ocean on Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of the Seas. I was twelve years old and knew nothing about life except that I was on the vacation of a lifetime. It was our first family cruise and it would be one we would never forget for many reasons. On Tuesday of that week our ship docked outside of their private island and we eagerly awaited a quick ride to its sandy shores. It was sometime in between breakfast and standing in line for a tender boat that the captain of the ship made an announcement.
 A plane had hit the World Trade Center Towers in New York. 
And like that history was altered. I know everybody has a story…a “what” they were doing that day as terrorists attacked the pillars of what our country stands for in an unthinkable fashion. I can’t help but go back and think about that day and how I was watching history unfold live before my eyes.
At twelve, I don’t think I fully understood what the attacks meant. We knew it was bad, but it wasn’t until the following Thursday when we got off the boat and stepped into Florida that the full impact hit. God Bless America was playing everywhere. We saw footage we hadn’t been able to see from the ship and like so many others tried to understand what had truly happened.
Planes had pierced through our buildings and our hearts one Tuesday morning and turned thriving, tall monuments into ashes. Like the Titanic, we stood horrified at the wreckage, broken and wounded and shipwrecked.
I was recently in line at the pharmacy and saw Time Magazine’s “World Trade Center Collector’s Edition Cover”. The headline and the new image of a beautiful building caught my eye. The page read in bold letters, “America’s Tower: One World Trade Center.” It stirred something within me because it is proof that rebuilding and rising again are always possible. It is a sign of hope to the world that America was not defeated, but rather strengthened that long ago day. I loved the phrase they wrote on the magazine that said, “A new symbol of strength and spirit.”
And in a quiet car ride home, God showed me that a lot of people reflect a ground zero mentality in their hearts and in their lives. They carry around with them the destruction and damage of an attack from the enemy. They once stood tall and strong, a shining story of success, but were demolished by events they had no control over. Planes of all shapes and sizes pierce our hearts and we find ourselves in the wreckage left behind; broken and wounded. Life has a way of bringing down our walls, rattling our foundation and stirring up the fight within us.
But when the dust settles we have a choice. We can live in sorrow and destruction and bitterness or we can rise out of the ashes and build again. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the World Trade Center has an alternative name. It is also referred to as the “Freedom Tower.” We too can stand on a pillar of freedom in Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and no matter what wreckage we find ourselves in, He can put the pieces back together (Hebrews 13:8).
I want to encourage you to bring hope to your situation today. Take to heart that whatever hurts or past regrets you are holding onto do not have to define you anymore. When you hit ground zero, look up. God wants to restore you. Nothing is too far lost to be salvaged by Him and He longs to build us up as a symbol of hope, strength and spirit. Rise from the ashes and begin again…Choose to rebuild.
-Only Hope

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