I’ll never forget the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
My phone began ringing off the hook at 5:30 a.m. I was living in California at the time, but I was born and raised in New Jersey, a short 30 minutes from New York City, so I was used to getting sporadic, “I forgot you lived on the West Coast now…” phone calls.
So I ignored my phone at first.
But somehow this felt different. The calls kept coming. My phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Half-asleep, I finally answered, and my friend on the phone asked, “Where’s John?”
Huh? I had no idea what they were talking about.
“John works in the World Trade Center,” my friend said more urgently.
It was frustrating.
“How would I know?!” I asked. “I’m sleeping, it’s 5:30 in the morning.”
“Oh no!!! You don’t know? Turn on the TV. The World Trade Center towers are on fire!”
I found my way to a TV (I didn’t own one at the time) and watched in horror as the towers collapsed. The frantic phone calls kept coming. Who still works there that I know? Where are they? Oh my goodness…what’s going on?
I was so grateful to find out my brother-in-law, like so many that day, had planned on going into work later that morning because he’d worked late the night before. Although he was safe, his law firm lost many lawyers that morning.
As we remember September 11th this year, it reminds me of something simple: Although evil is real, love is stronger.
I moved back to the east coast not long after the attacks. Really, it was those attacks that made me want to return to my home state. I was amazed to see people respond to evil with love.
As you may know, the northeast is known for its no-nonsense truth telling. That flavor remained (which I still appreciate about those people), but people went out of their way to be helpful to one another. They weren’t running around angry and making the world a worse place because of the events they endured. Instead, they were trying to make each other’s lives better and stand strong as one unified force against unimaginable destruction and pain.
Seventeen years later, I’m still affected by the events of that day. Evil leaves a mark that we can’t just get over.
But when I think of those first responders who rushed into those buildings in the face of danger, I am reminded that love always triumphs over evil.
That’s such an important reminder for all of us as we choose to live in this world today.
Choose to love.
Don’t give in to the evil that tries to tear us all apart.
Now more than ever, our world needs people who will choose to love in the face of evil, and set aside the things that divide us.
The world is broken. We miss the point of life so often. But when love is stronger, God wins.
Daniel Fusco, author of Upward, Inward, Outward, is the pastor of Crossroads Community Church (Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore.), and hosts TV show Real with Daniel Fusco on the Hillsong Channel. Find him at Danielfusco.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danielfusco