Even after six years, September 11th continues to weigh so heavily for so many people that I hesitate to share my experiences from that time. My words are small and insignificant — I can only pray that, somehow, God will be more present than the pain in the hearts of the broken.

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We were living right across the bridge in northern New Jersey at the time — many members of our church community lived and worked in the city. After the initial chaos, we were relieved to find out that everyone had made it home safely. As we heard the stories of people who worked in lower Manhattan but, for some reason, were late for work that day our hearts were filled with gratitude at the providence and mercy of God.

But then we heard the news that someone was missing. A young couple from our church was going to be married that weekend and no one could locate the best man, who worked in the World Trade Center. While the best man was not a member of our particular church, our church — and the entire Korean American church community in the area — was in fervent prayer for him and his family. The groom-to-be, during what should have been a time of great joy and anticipation, spent the entire week traveling to and from Ground Zero frantically searching for news about his best friend because the best man’s parents were overwhelmed with grief.

Out of respect for their missing friend, and because of the surrounding sorrow, this couple was considering whether or not they should have their wedding ceremony that weekend. Our senior pastor reasoned that our community needed to experience some joy during those dark days and advised them to marry that weekend, as planned. The wedding and reception were subdued and respectful, but provided the glimpse of grace and hope that had all but disappeared.

Our community needed to come together in fervent, heart-rending prayer; we needed to grieve, weep and question together. But we also needed to come together and be reminded of God’s providence which is revealed not only when the results turn in our favor, but even when it seems all hope is lost.

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You are not alone. No matter how dark the brokenness of this world might seem, the light of Christ endures — if even only as a faint spark in the distance. May the words of the psalmist become reality in your life, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”