I will always remember 9/11/2001! For Americans like myself who love our nation, it will always be a day of solemnity! At the moment of infamy, I was in Ethiopia on a mission’s trip with my church—Wheaton Christian Center. We were returning from a great day where we had just finished some missions' work and visited some historical sites. Ethiopia is 8 hours ahead of
America, so it was about 4:45 pm when the first plane hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower at 8:45 am eastern time. Just as our bus dropped us off at our hotel, one of the hotel workers ran up and began shouting that America had just been attacked. So, I ran to the elevator and then to my room. I turned the TV on and fell to my knees grabbing the monitor on either side as I saw the two smoldering buildings. At first, I didn’t believe my eyes and thought I was looking at a movie. So, I kept changing channels only to find the imagery remained the same. By this time, I was weeping profusely, crying out to God, while simultaneously trying to contact my wife and son who were back home in Naperville, Illinois. When I finally got through, my wife having just returned from picking up my son from school, was hysterical believing that our nation was under attack.
I felt helpless to do anything as I watched alone in my hotel room as the other planes crashed. All I could think was: ‘WE” are at war, and I am in another nation on the other side of the world unable to get home to my family because the skies over America were closed down!!
For the next several hours all I could do was watch, pray, and weep as I saw people plunging one hundred stories to their death, millions of pieces of falling paper, and then the two buildings collapsing into huge clouds of dust and debris. Ironically, the firestorm, explosions, crashing metal, and suffocating dust did not discriminate between white, black, Asian and Hispanic—for over 3,000 Americans perished that infamous day from the evil of 25 scandalous terrorists and their leader Osama Bin Laden!
On the contrary, at that one particular moment, America was unified as One Nation under God! The words of then-President George Bush still echo in my ears. As he was thanking all the first responders for their tireless work, one person shouted back that they could not hear him. Spontaneously, he turned and with a response now permanently etched into my heart and mind, as well as the hearts of all American patriots, Bush declared: “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people – and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon." The crowd erupted with cheers and began chanting, “USA! USA! USA! USA!"
Although the horror of this time still haunts me, it is NOT the reason I am an American patriot. I do not proclaim my patriotism simply because I was born and raised in America. My patriotism comes through hard work, aka Bible research, and the study of American history both White and Black! Even as a child I was keenly aware that despite all of America’s faults something was different about this nation—but I didn’t know why. However, as I grew in the Word of God, I began to understand God’s view of history—which is called Providential History. P.H. rests upon the Sovereign nature of God which means that He rules over all; and nothing and no one is outside of His rulership. In addition, PH rests upon God’s nature of love and goodness. The bottom line of PH is that because God is good and reigns over all, He is constantly working to bring about His good will in our lives. This means that not only is God working to answer our prayers, but much more importantly, because our human knowledge is limited and we most often do not know what we need, nor can we always understand His divine purposes for our life, God works behind the scenes---apart from our knowledge---to bring about His good will for us!! One place this great truth is illustrated is the story of Joseph in Genesis 50 when he revealed himself to his brothers after they had sold him into slavery:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
When Joseph was sold into slavery and imprisoned for 13 years, God was working using the evil of his brother’s betrayal to prepare Joseph to “save much people alive”. As I looked at America, throughout our history, I also knew God was working behind the scenes using any evil in America’s past to bring about His good will for this nation:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
It was this divine revelation that revealed God’s hand upon the nation directing the existence of Black people in America. I repeat, it was the goodwill of God that brought Blacks across the oceans in chains to America! Presently, American Blacks are overwhelmingly the most prosperous Black people on earth---including in all of Africa!!! And...it’s not even close!! More Blacks have come from Africa to America voluntarily over the last 20-40 years than were ever brought to America on slave ships!!!
This is not an accident—but the divine hand of God—i.e.the Providence of God! Like God used the enslavement and imprisonment of Joseph to bless the world at that time, so God both turned and used the enslavement of Blacks, turning contemporary African-Americans into the most prosperous Blacks--not only in the present world---but in the history of the world!!
Charles Kaufman wrote, “If you don’t see the divine hand behind the scenes history becomes an incomprehensible enigma.” If both Blacks and Whites ignore the Providential Hand of God in American history, Americans will be filled with hatred and revenge!!! Tragically, we are now watching this unfold in our beloved America!!!
Nevertheless, it is because of the Providential Hand of God upon America—Who turns evil into good(Gen50:20; Rom8:28)--that to my last breath--I am an American Patriot!!!!
“I love the land that gave me birth. I love the stars and stripes. This country is where I intend to live, where I expect to die; to preserve the honor of the national flag and to maintain perpetually the union of the states, for which hundreds and I may say thousands of poor, brave and true-hearted colored men have fought, bled and died.”
-John Roy Lynch- born into slavery in 1847; he became the first black speaker of the house in Mississippi; the first black American to preside over a national convention occurred in 1884, the National Republican convention.