The chilly air off the Hudson River only added to the somber spirit of the crowd that wrapped its way along Albany Street. As the final haze of twilight shifted to darkness, our eyes couldn’t help but be drawn upward to the nearest source of light. The Freedom Tower, still topped by cranes, glowed in muted tones of red, white, and blue – a vivid reminder of the cost of freedom that many of our fellow citizens paid that fateful September morning a decade ago.
Returning to New York, we felt the trip to the new 9/11 Memorial was a way to honor those Americans we lost that day. Little did we realize that after we toured “Ground Zero,” we’d carry with us a renewed sense of gratitude. The reflection pools, sparkling in the illuminated footprints of the former Twin Towers, reminded us of a day that’s coming when we will no longer need manmade sources of light. And the sound of falling water spoke volumes about the hope we have for an eternity where tears will never again be shed:
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:6-7, 23-24, 4
I’m not sure what sadness you carry with you these days, but humanity shares the common bond of loss in a world that’s far from perfect. All of us have had tear-streaked faces, empty chairs at the holidays, and some type of silent burden that we often must bear alone. Yet with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems appropriate to shift our gaze heavenward – off of these earthly trappings and upward to that future hope that’s not far from being completed. As the Lord lovingly reminded us before He paid the complete price for our freedom:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
We look forward to that eternal future with great anticipation, but there is still much work to be done. As my husband and I stood amongst the crowd that evening, we wondered how many there had accepted God’s gift of ultimate freedom. We thought about the need to keep sharing the Gospel message – and what role we should be playing in this important process. We also thanked God for allowing us to live in a great country where we have the ability to talk openly to others about Him.
Despite the sense of loss that still lingers in lower Manhattan, we left that sacred ground with a fresh perspective on life – and a renewed sense of purpose for the days, weeks, and months ahead. While our journey here on Earth won’t be easy, we’re alive in the Lord and able to serve Him. And even as the lights of the Freedom Tower slowly dimmed when we drove uptown toward our hotel, we knew the Light in us remains illuminated – a fact for which we are forever grateful.
Many blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving from all of us at Sonkist Ministries!
Thought of the Month
You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.