It was a feeling combat soldiers call “the fog of war.” That’s how one official described the situation at the Pentagon on that fateful day of September 11, 2001.
Colonel Matthew Kilmow was serving as executive assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was on the phone learning about the attack on the twin towers when his secretary interrupted and told him she just felt the building move. A hijacked plane had struck the world’s largest office building where over 20,000 people worked. People hurried to get out of the smoke-filled halls. Paramedics rushed to the scene. Fire-fighters responded quickly to quench the blaze and rescue as many as possible. They blocked anyone from entering the burning building, but soldiers who were outside said they were going back in to help and an argument ensued. Meanwhile Colonel Kilmow was in contact with the highest defense personnel in the nation as they tried to process information about what was happening. In addition to being caught totally off guard they had to sift through misinformation, lack of communication, and conflict about who had authority in the different aspects of an unforeseen scenario. The hub of the nation’s defense and seemingly the most secure place on earth had been turned upside down. Thanks to the training, experience, and dedication of the Department of Defense and top military officials, the nation’s leaders were able to make sense of the harrowing experience within hours and began to plot a course for the days ahead. In time the fog lifted and they saw clearly.
The year 2020 has been a fog of war unlike any confusion we have ever imagined. Perhaps a better image is the one the prophet described in Judah when God punished the nation for its sins: “They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with intoxicating drink. For the Lord has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep” (Isa. 29:9-10). Everywhere we turn there is fear and confusion. People act like they have lost their minds because what they say and do doesn’t make sense. Yet they speak as if God-fearing people are insane and it is impossible to reason with them on the simplest level. It’s like a thick fog has come over the land and people can’t tell their right hand from their left. Like those in the corridors of the Pentagon on 9/11, Americans today are running in every direction without understanding what is happening or who is in charge.
In time the dense fog will dissipate as it always does. It is already clearing somewhat. In time we’ll look back with 20/20 vision at the year 2020. Until then we must depend as we always do on our faith in God and the light of His Word. When Jesus encouraged the disciples to take courage as the worst conflict of all times approached, He said, “By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:19). So be patient and trust in God. He already knew what would happen before 2020 began. He already knows how all this chaos will end. In fact, He is working in the midst of that fog of confusion to accomplish His purposes which only He sees. In a time when many people can’t see ahead, remember these words: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105).
Kerry Duke, VP of Academics and Academic Affairs