For those old enough to remember, the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, induced feelings of disbelief, helplessness and insecurity most had never experienced before within our own nation.
Within those tragic few hours, the very way we live was changed forever. Those not able to remember are growing up in a world drastically different than those before. Whether it be the new challenges of going through airport security or the unsettling feeling you get finding a lost backpack, innocence was lost that day.
As a young Airman at an Air Force base in Texas, I was teaching technical skills to military members coming straight out of basic training. As I watched the attacks unfold on live television, I felt a horrific blow. In the aftermath of that destructive evil, I was left seeking answers. How and why was this happening? How do we deal with the loss? How do we rebuild? Where do we seek guidance and direction?
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” - Matthew 7:7
In times of chaos like 9/11, some question their faith while many find renewed faith. As Christians we hope to always have a spiritual closeness and connection with God but can sometimes live our days under our own power where true faith is assumed unnecessary.
Catastrophic events like 9/11 shock us into the realization of what is out of our control and brings us closer to God for spiritual guidance and answers to our faith questions.
That September day made me reflect on my own life and spiritual direction. I felt the drive to do something, to make a difference, to find peace and to feel safe again. I felt I could do more. I sought duty as an enlisted aviator, flying missions in the Middle East. I helped the war effort by delivering equipment, supplies and troops to the war front. Although this was a choice I made, it was not the choice of my wife or our 4-year-old son.
While on missions, I found the stress to be unbearable sometimes; the High Ops tempo, the uncertainty of injury or death and the hardships placed on my loved ones by me not being there. It was at those times of uncertainty and insecurity that I found my rock and faith with God.
Through prayer, I felt the comfort and guidance of God. This helped me to overcome many obstacles. The anxiety, stress and loneliness were eased as God guided my path.
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” - Psalm 61:2
Written by Gregory Flores, Air Force veteran and facilities management director at Buckner Baptist Retirement Community in San Angelo, Texas.