Sep 11, 2013
That clear, crisp Tuesday morning began quietly. By the end of the day, a city and a nation had witnessed horror and grace. Minutes after the explosions at the Twin Towers, the police and fire departments were helping to evacuate the most vulnerable. Ubiquitous emergency crews—first responders and volunteers, some wearing purple vests, others, grey, others orange, were issuing orders, raising their hands, prompting the stunned crowds to come, go, or wait. The intense, controlled chaos was a sight indelibly etched in to the American psyche.
New Yorkers have been called many things: brassy, brazen, resilient and resourceful, saucy and skeptical. Docile, they are not. Neither are they foolhardy. Faced with mortal danger of unimaginable proportions, New Yorkers put their faith in strangers, trusting them because they saw that they must. Their lives depended on the leap of faith they were about to make. They obeyed. No questions asked. They obeyed because they saw that they must. On that fateful day, one of the worst in American history, deaths numbered in the thousands, but New Yorkers, with steely backbones, stood tall, transcended their own fears, and looked out for the vulnerable among them. That fateful day was a day of faith as well, made visible through selfless and heroic love. “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound” (Rom 5:20).
Every day we put our faith in others for the mundane: when the car needs repair, when we visit doctors and when we undergo surgery, when we invest in the stock market, and when we want to trust others. We weigh options based on facts but with an intuitive eye. We make decisions neither on blind faith nor on purely rational information that can prove a positive outcome beforehand. Decisions are made on perception—that subjective certainty and the objective probability that the choices made have gone through a process that compares, distinguishes, and illuminates—it is the process of drawing conclusions, this ability to perceive rightly. Then, the individual acts on the light received from the weighing, reasoning, and judging. What follows is the leap of faith.