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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Off the bench and onto the field

How the September 11 Pentagon attack changed one survivor's spiritual outlook

Early in the morning of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon, at 3 a.m., Sandy Robinson woke up suddenly.
"I had an incredible sense to pray," she recalls. "Such an urgency--from the Holy Spirit--to pray for my husband's protection." She prayed fervently.
Later that morning, Sandy's husband Scott left home to commute as usual to the Pentagon, where he served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. Sandy left for a business meeting.
A few hours later, Sandy's colleague interrupted the meeting with heart-stopping news: The Pentagon had just been hit in a terrorist attack.
"You wouldn't believe what went through my body at that moment," Sandy recalls. Frantically, she dialed her husband's cell phone--but couldn't get through. Within an hour, however, Sandy finally received a voice mail message from Scott. He had survived the attack.
Sandy would later learn that Scott had been working perilously close to the site of the crash. Rocked by the blast, he had encountered impenetrable smoke billowing through the hallways. Screams from colleagues battered his ears and an acrid smell assaulted his nostrils. Scott managed to stumble away from the fire and escape out of the building. Then he and his colleagues set about aiding the victims.
A few hours later, Scott and Sandy finally connected by phone, and he reassured her that he was safe. Sadly, 20 of Scott's colleagues--including a very dear friend--had not survived.
Two weeks after the attack, Scott and Sandy shared their testimonies at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia. Scott noted that the one question that keeps coming to him from reporters and friends is why he thinks he survived. To Scott, the answer is clear.
''I was spared to glorify God," he says.
Describing what he termed a "lukewarm" Christian faith before the tragedy, Scott says the event has forced him to take stock of his faith and priorities.
"I was on the bench," he laments. "I need to get on the field."
Scott sees his survival as an opportunity to share God's love and compassion with others. He notes the newfound openness across the nation to discussing spiritual matters in the media and in the workplace.
"People are looking for answers," he observes. "The answer--the only answer--is Jesus Christ."
Sandy agrees that their mission is one of service and testimony. Throughout the ordeal, Sandy testifies, "God has given us the stamina, the strength, to minister to others."
Through tears, she notes that Scott's living beyond the attack "is an incredible blessing from the Lord."
Scott and Sandy say they have drawn comfort from Psalm 46, verse 1: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

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