September 10th, 2011
That date was the anniversary of when my husband and I met and our usual plans to celebrate were overshadowed by an ominous feeling of danger I tried to keep to myself.
First I suggested we cancel original plans and stay home on Monday the 10th and Tuesday the 11th. Sunday the 10th, though it was a gray, rainy day, Ken was determined to celebrate in some small way, so we headed toward a Frank Lloyd-Wright home about 90 miles west.
Reading to Ken from a paperback “Names of the Holy Spirit”, we were discussing Nehemiah 9:20 “You gave your good spirit to instruct them,” when the unsettling aura increased. It’s hard to hide much when you’ve been with someone for 40 years, and as I strained to hear or see what I thought I could “feel” was approaching as we drove along, I secreted frequent glances at the horizon. I knew my unrest had not gone unnoticed when Ken’s soft question “What is it? What’s bothering you?” forced me to crack a small tight smile. I should have known that he would sense what I was feeling. “I don’t know yet.” was my honest answer as I nervously glanced out my side window again. Ken questioned if we should turn back and I hesitantly confessed to an eerie feeling that something ominous – something dark and evil was going to happen soon. I didn’t know what I was feeling or watching for but felt it coming from an area of sinister clouds I pointed to outside the passenger window. (When we got home Ken pinpointed the area as the Northeast).
We could not pull over as the rain was forceful and so we began to pray through our concerns, listing the family and loved ones as they came to mind. When we got to our niece Trinity and her husband Larry I became overwhelmed with concern for them. They were far away in New York and though I had only been there to see them but once, my sister Marvel and husband William had called recently and told how they had met family in Florida including Trinity, Larry and their little daughter Autumn Lea. As I mused over their conversation a few days previous I recalled their mentioning some tidbits from the book of Revelation about future times of peace or fear (depending on one’s relationship with the Lord) that were coming,our mutual concern for their spiritual and physical well being seemed to mount. We continued to pray for them off and on during our trip that day, over lunch, and on the return home.
I thought of calling Trinity but feared my ‘dark’ worries might seem ‘silly’ and decided to leave it with the Lord. The next day, the 11th, my concern grew hourly and I did not sleep the night of September 10th – praying around the list of our family and ministries, but frequently coming back to Trinity and Larry.
Several times in the past I’ve awakened with a need to pray for family or friend in the states or overseas and later learned of a particular need at the exact time. I wondered what physical or spiritual need Trinity and Larry could be having to have such an unusually compelling control over my heart and mind. I determined to make a call the next day to see if there was anything I could do. I had my sister’s number with me and intended to call her to get Trinity’s number during break the next morning. It was difficult to keep my mind on my work due to lack of sleep, the early hour at which I worked, and the continued concern. I knew it was even earlier in New York and Florida, and frequent glances at the clock showed it was too early to call. Each time I checked the clock I prayed for them again, mystified at the continued feeling of oppression, darkness and concern for my niece’s family.
At 9:15 a.m. I was called to the outer office where staff was gathered under a small wall-mounted monitor where the news of the attack on the World Trade Center was being televised.
Instantly I understood the previous 48 hours of turmoil. Larry worked near the World Trade Center, and frequently stopped at a coffee shop there on his way to work. I ran to my office and called my sister. Without a hello she answered, “Larry and Trinity are OK. He had not left for work yet.” and then she shared the rest of the story. Trinity and Larry had planned a little family outing at the mall beneath the World Trade Center prior to Larry’s scheduled work time. They planned to take the subway there, to breakfast before he went to work.
But they’d overslept. The evening before, their usually happy baby had several brief periods of fussiness with no obvious illness or reason for her behavior. She kept them awake most of the night. They’d finally rested in the early morning hours and consequently overslept.
Awakened by a call from Larry’s mother, they rushed to the television and saw the same horrific scene I was viewing. Their eyes met with one thought “we would have been there.”
My sister said when she saw the news and called them they were understandably shaken. She assured them that God had kept them from harm and Trinity told her “We believe, Mom, we believe.” My sister was astounded as I shared the prayer vigil for them the previous night and we too believe that God has a plan for them and spared them at this time. Trinity gave me permission shortly after to share the story though she said it was still too painful for Larry to discuss.
We thank God that his Good Spirit instructed us to pray for them – not just on those days but in these days to come as well. As we look back into those verses in Revelation we know that things have only begun to happen and we must continue to pray with the same immediacy and concern for all mankind. It brought back recent memories when a dying friend told me that “at times like these only two things are important – my relationships with my God and my family.”
Luke 21:36 says it well – “keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man “and God’s Good Spirit will guide you.