Today I relived emotions that I remember having when I was young.
Today, I reopened those feelings from 1995. I was 9 years old, only weeks away from my 10th birthday. These feelings were quite the same when the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001. And the feelings I feel when I watch or read documentation on the event.
I visited the site of the 1995 Oklahoma Bombing that took place on April 19th. I mostly remember the incident because my Aunt and Uncle lived just outside of Oklahoma City. I visited the site with my Uncle and my cousin (who wasn’t born at the time). My uncle said he was about 15 minutes away from the bombing and could hear it go off and he also said that on day 3 he was out there with his church volunteering. It was an eerie feeling, one he wouldn’t forget.
As we began the walk through of the museum, the emotions and feelings of sadness, unbelief, horror, and fear began to resurface. My heart was pounding as we sat in a dimly lit room, as if we were in a conference room during the hearing at the Oklahoma Water Resource Board that fateful day 20 years ago. This hearing was in the building just across the street from the Ryder Truck containing the bomb and the Murrah Federal Building, which was the target. We listened as the woman explained the hearing, and knowing what was coming, my heart was beating faster and faster, waiting for that moment…
“Basically there are four elements that I have to receive information regarding …..BOOOOOOOOM!”
It was loud. Louder than I had anticipated it to sound. And it was long. Longer than I could imagine. It felt like forever. I couldn’t imagine what those involved and survived had to have felt.
“Everybody, let’s get out of here now!”
The horror these people had to feel, during the darkest moment of their lives. Not knowing if they would even make it out alive.
“Watch the electricity line…Watch the line. Watch the line!”
Every turn down a hallway or stairwell could have been their last. Another bomb could have exploded. The building could have collapsed at any minute.
“Everybody get out. Out the back door. All the way to your right…hurry!”
And then I remember, this was only the building next door to the target. What did those who were in the Murrah Building feel.
168 lives were lost that day, which is still the largest domestic attack on America in history. This was done by one of our own, an American. Timothy McVeigh, who was the bomber, was sentenced to death and then executed on June 11, 2011, only 3 months before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York City. By the time those victims, survivors and the victims families received a small amount of closer, the world would be rocked again in just 3 months. I never realized that until now.
As I sit here and look back on all that has happened in my 30 years of life, I can see the darkness and the evil that has fallen upon us. It isn’t something that we like to admit or want to see, but it is there. As a Christian though, I have hope. I have hope in the darkness, hope in the violent, hope in the present, hope for the future and hope in who holds my future. God is with us and among us, even if we do not feel Him or hear Him. He is still there. He is always there.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
As I think upon these things, I am reminded of a song that Barlowgirl wrote and sang called, “I Believe in Love”.
I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent.
Even thought we believe, there seem to always be those questions we ask God when tragedies strike…
Where was God?
Why did He let this happen?
What is God doing?
Does God even care?
It seems that no matter the devastation, the problem or the hurt we endure, we always want to know where God is in the midst of it all. I am reminded of the following two verses..
“And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it GRIEVED him to his heart.” – Genesis 6:6 (ESV)
“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (ESV)
He weeps. He weeps for us. He weeps for the sin we carry out. He weeps for the pain we endure. He weeps for all his children.
There is a statue of Jesus with his back turned to the “bombing destruction” of April 19th, 1995, weeping for his fallen children. He faces a wall that has 168 niches in it, representing all those who were lost.
“Yes, the watching eye of God is always on His people. The compassion of Christ is always waiting for His people.”
Once again, with seeing that statue, a second song is brought to mind by Fireflight called “He Weeps”.
No matter who you are or the situation you are in, whether you are the sinner or the one hurt by the sin, He weeps for you because this was not how he intended our lives to be. But yet, He is strong and is there to help pick up the pieces and carry you through the pain, the hurt, and the fear. Our lives are not meant to be controlled by this. He has better plans for us. He WILL use that pain for good. He always does, we just have to believe, to trust and to follow Him. No, it will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
I end this with a quote surrounding the survivor tree at the bombing site…
“The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.”