Today, many of us are reflecting back to where we were on that tragic day that we have come to refer to as 911. I play back the details of where I was and what I thought after the first plane hit the first tower. I also remember how my thoughts, emotions and attitude changed when the second plane hit the second tower. Like most people, I knew at that moment that this was no accident. It was a terrible day for our country and the families and friends who lost loved ones.
We can’t always control what happens around us because we can’t control the action of others. There are good people in the world and there are those who do evil. Most people do not expect an overt act of evil to take place in their lives. Most people do not expect to get the phone call in the middle of the night with news that a loved one just passed away or your best friend was in a car accident. We don’t expect tragedy and loss to strike, although intuitively we know that it will.
Time goes on and every year we remember that accident, that phone call, that tragedy or that evil that shook our world. We were stunned into the realization that our time on this earth is short and everything is temporary. So, the question we’re all asking is…
How should we live in the midst of our memory?
1. Turn your pain into purpose. The one thing that can derail us in life more than anything is to live without purpose. I echo Rick Warren in which he so eloquently said, “The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.” There is no greater purpose in life than to live for God and fulfill the mandate that is on your life. Often times our pain is a precursor to the calling that God has placed on our lives. Many people have no idea what that is, but maybe this will help you; your purpose, whatever it is, involves loving God and loving people. The purpose of God for our lives comes wrapped in many different packages, but what’s inside of the package is the same.
2. Live for the benefit of others. In the face of pain, it is easy to withdraw and become focused on our own needs, wants, and desires. We begin to cope in ways that protect us from further harm. Before we know it, our lives are isolated from others leaving us empty on the inside and feeling disconnected from anything meaningful. However when we focus on helping others, listening to their cares, encouraging them to keep reaching forward, we discover that there is something inside of us that others need.
Everything around us might be temporary, but when we live for the purposes of God and touch those around us in significant ways, our lives transcend the temporary and make eternal impacts that no tragedy or pain can ever take away.