Finding God in the Wreckage of the World Trade Centre

From Robert Matthews, Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

A few weeks before September 11, 2001, my wife and I found out that we were going to have our first child. She planned a trip out to California to visit her sister. On our way to the airport we prayed that God would grant my wife a safe trip and be with her. Shortly after I said “Amen”, there was a loud bang and the car shook violently. I found that I had blown a tyre. I replaced the tyre as quickly as I could but we still missed her flight and we returned home very disappointed.

Once we were home, I received a call from my father in New York. He was a retired fire fighter. He asked what my wife’s flight number was but I explained that we had missed it. He told me that her flight was the one that had crashed into the southern tower of the World Trade Centre. I was too shocked to speak. My father had more news for me; he was going to help. “This is not something I can just sit by, I have to do something”, he said. I was concerned for his safety, but more concerned because he had never given his life to Christ. After a brief debate, I knew his mind was made up. Before he got off the telephone he said, “Take good care of my grandchild.” Those were the last words I ever heard him say. He died while helping in the rescue effort! My joy that my prayer for the safety of my wife had been answered quickly became anger. Anger at God, at my father and at myself. I went on for nearly two years, blaming God for taking my father away. My son would never know his grandfather, my father had never accepted Christ as saviour and I never got to say goodbye.

Then one night there was a knock on the door. We were not expecting anyone and when I went to the door there was an unknown couple with a small child. The man asked if my father’s name was Jake Matthews. I told him it was and he grabbed my hand and said, “I never got the chance to meet your father, but it is an honour to meet his son!” He explained to me that his wife had worked in the World Trade Centre and had been caught inside after the attack. She was pregnant and had been caught under the debris. He then explained that my father had been the one who found her and freed her. My eyes filled with tears as I thought of my father giving his life for these people.

He then said, “There is something else you need to know.” His wife then told me that as my father worked to free her, she spoke to him and was able to lead him to Christ. I began sobbing at the news. When their baby boy was born, they named him Jacob Matthew in honour of the man who gave his life so that mother and baby might live.

This story reminds us yet again that God is always in control. We may not see the reason behind things until we get to heaven, but God always knows. Please take time to share this story with others. You never know the impact it may have on someone.