The twin towers in New York –known as the World Trade Center – once evoked an image of the seemingly invincible power of America. Though those towers survived a 1975 fire and 1993 bombing, they were totally destroyed in the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001 – an event that remains etched in people’s minds both here and abroad. Who could have imagined these symbols of strength encountering such unsuspected destruction?
For a moment, think of the towers as representing the strength we display to others, sometimes giving the impression that we are strong and invincible too. It’s easy for us to present a strong image, hiding our weaknesses and giving the impression that we have things all together. Until disaster strikes. Disasters have a way of checking our reality and driving us back to our only safe refuge – the Lord God Almighty. The reality of His strength is captured in Psalm 46:
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble…
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
the God of Israel is our fortress.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers, President Obama, flanked by former President George W. Bush, read this Psalm in its entirety, expressing the sentiments of many in our nation. You can watch it here. At this service, the names of those who died were read in respectful remembrance.
Each of us lives within a circle of people who know us—but they only know us in part. We tend to reveal our stronger parts to others, and hide our weaknesses. When we hide our weaknesses from others, it reveals our fear of being truly known. We think “if other people knew who I truly was, I would be utterly rejected.” This shows the importance we place on the approval of others. But if we embrace the fact that God—as the supremely important person in our life—knows us intimately, and accepts us in spite of ourselves, we can find his strength. He surrounds us with his love and care, and keeps us safe in his fortress—in his “strong tower.” In the safety of this most important relationship, we can indeed be still, and find peace and strength to face our challenges and temptations.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18.10 ESV
Jim is the founder of COMPASS, and has been a leader in sexual addiction ministry for over 10 years.