Daily Devotions

An NYC Moment

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This photo of Ground Zero was taken by Hannah Paczkowski Miller.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39; the page and verse of a Bible found by a police officer at the Twin Towers. The Bible was melted to metal, but this verse remained legible)

Our daughter and her husband just concluded a five-day vacation in New York City. One of the most meaningful aspects of their trip was visiting the 9/11 memorial. Seeing all the names of those who lost their names that day was humbling. I had to smile, because some years ago, I was talking to her about 9/11 and she said, “Dad, I barely remember it, because I was still in elementary school.” She is right, it still seems like it happened yesterday, yet we are coming up on its eighteenth anniversary. I am pleased my daughter will have a new understanding of how 9/11 impacted our nation and how it affected all of us who remember where we were that horrific day. It is our generation’s Pearl Harbor.

I’ve never been to New York City, but I have so much respect for that great city. While I hate their sports teams – especially the Yankees – I have always been awed by the city’s history and impact on the history of our nation. There was no greater moment in the city’s illustrious history than 9/11. Everything from the first responders running into the flames, to the citizens helping one another, was such an inspiration. I remember all of us, worried and prayerful for the people of New York, wondering when another terrorist attack would occur. It felt like it was going to happen any minute. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to live in NYC at that time, with the anxiety of when it would happen next.

Rather, than hide, the people of New York got back to work, and started living their lives again. They rallied around the theme of not letting the terrorists win, by changing their lives. God has truly blessed us, because in the years following the attacks, we have not had similar attacks. We have had some painful moments, but nothing as overwhelming as 9/11. This is a tribute to our police, military, and other officials who help protect us. It is also a blessing from God.

Today, think about where you were the morning of 9/11/01. Try to remember the feelings welling up inside you. Think of the days afterward. Did you know someone in New York City you were trying to reach? What prayers did you offer to God? Were you angry with God for allowing such a thing to happen? Continue your prayers, this time for the first responders who continue to suffer health issues due to the dust and chemicals they breathed in that day. Pray that God will continue to watch over us and our world. We pray the global poverty that is a breeding ground for terrorism will be addressed, so individuals will no longer feel the need to reach out to religious extremism. Finally, thank God for all the moments we’ve been saved from hate, both in our country and throughout our world.

Overcoming the Fear

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Do not fear, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

Growing up in a broken home left me with a sense of anxiety. I didn’t feel anxiety in my youth or even college years. It came after I got married and knew I was responsible for more than just myself. I worried that I would make enough money for us to be comfortable and provide security for my wife and daughter. I was blessed with a wife who also worked and understood the benefits of paying the bills on time.

Through the years, I’ve heard from other adults who were children of divorce, and many of them also brought a sense of anxiety to their relationships. It might be the fear that divorce, too, could happen in their marriage and they didn’t think they could endure that pain yet again. Financial fears of being a good provider come up regularly with adult children of divorce. I am guessing that is because most marriages that end in divorce often do so because of financial instability, and debt issues.

Over the years I’ve had to address and overcome this fear. First, I had to trust that my ministry is called by God and therefore, God is with me in this ministry. If there must be transition, even a painful transition, I am not doing it alone. God will walk with me through the difficulty. Second, I intentionally remind myself I am not my parents. I can communicate with my spouse. We can focus on our financial responsibilities and retain a modest, but secure financial future.

The third, way that I can overcome this fear is to prayerfully reflect on all the times my fears were unwarranted. I read a statement one time that said, “Ninety percent of what you worry about will never happen.” When I start hearing my self-talk become anxious, I remind myself of that truth. If I find myself in a moment of the terrible 10 percent, I reflect on other 10 percent moments, and remind myself that I am still standing, still married; our daughter and family are well and wonderful, and with God’s help, this present trouble will pass with time. It always has, and it always will, until God’s kingdom comes, and none of us will ever have to experience fear again. Today, just remember that 90 percent rule. Then, reflect on your 10 percent moments. You made it through, and let those memories make you strong enough to overcome your fear, and have the courage to face tomorrow with hope and confidence.

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