Written by: Christina Ray Stanton
Article source: JOY! Magazine

The boat pushed off and, with tears in my eyes, I let out a huge sigh of relief. As we sailed across the Hudson River, I could see at least fifty boats of all shapes and sizes approaching the area my husband and I had been just minutes earlier. They were rushing to rescue the thousands of people who had been trapped by the burning falling Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 – commonly referred to as “9/11”.

Christina (LEFT) with Author and Pastor Timothy Keller (RIGHT)

In the midst of the tragedy
My husband, Brian, had shaken me awake after the first plane hit. We watched the second plane crash into the South Tower, just six blocks away, and we ran down 24 stories – me barefoot and in my pyjamas. Soon after, the towers came down, covering us with dust and debris. We spent the morning dodging smoke and desperately searching for a clear air pocket and a way to safety. At one point, we said goodbye to each other, unsure if we’d survive…

I cried out to God, would He respond?
I felt grateful that Brian was by my side during what might be our last moments on earth. But as I prayed to God asking Him to spare us, I also felt utterly alone. I had abandoned my faith years ago, so why would He answer me now?

Christina and Brian on their terrace with the Twin Towers in the background, just 6 blocks away

Where to now?
The boat dropped us off in New Jersey. We were filthy, traumatised, and with little understanding of what had just happened. Only two things were clear: we weren’t going to get back to our home any time soon, and we had no idea where to go or what to do next.

Finding Christ in the mess
Weeks of uncertainly stretched into months.During this time, my husband and I re-evaluated everything in our lives, including our relationship with our Saviour. We eventually joined a faith community and began attending group Bible studies, becoming active in church activities, and volunteering with outreach programmes. As our faith deepened, we committed our lives to Christ and our foundation became built on His promises.

Battery Park filled with dust, making it hard to breathe for those like Christina and Brian who took shelter in it | Photo: Skot MacDonald


Boat Evacuation – Brian and Christina were rescued through the largest boat evacuation in history off the island of Manhattan | Photo: The New York Police Department

Jesus has overcome this world
As the 21st anniversary of 9/11 has just come and gone, I look back and realise that all our current endeavours and blessings flow from that awful day. God met us at our lowest point, sheltered us, and rebuilt us in His image. In this broken world, we know that injustice and suffering will be a constant presence. But take heart! Jesus has overcome the world and He promises that He will never forsake us or abandon us.

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Date published: 21/09/2022
Christina Ray Stanton worked for over a decade as Missions Director at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Founder, Timothy Keller). She and her husband founded Loving All Nations, which helps the world’s poor and vulnerable. Christina is an author who has written two award-winning books and over 50 articles that have appeared all over the world. Email christinarstanton@gmail.com

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