Providence and the Mechanics of the Fall


I've noted that I spent the last week in NYC. My location was a hotel in Battery City. A Hotel perhaps two blocks away from "ground zero." In my walking tours, I often used the Overpass at Vesey Street to get to Church Street and beyond. Doing so requires you to walk by the huge pit in the ground that marks the place where once the two towers stood and where thousands of people died all in a couple of hours.

Couple this with a couple of facts that I learned during a short circle-line cruise I took on the last evening there and you have a most interesting picture. Directly across the street from my hotel was World Financial Four, two of the towers of which--the Merrill Lynch and the American Express were damaged in the fall. A little further away was the Deutsches Bank, a building now being dismantled story by story because it could not be repaired.

However, much closer than either of these two building is St. Paul's Chapel--a small old Church that fronts on Broadway, and whose cemetery was across the street from the two towers. This building sustained no damage whatsoever in the fall. Some of the tombstones in the cemetery were damaged, and much of the property covered in debris. But there was no damage, no rebuilding required, nothing.

I don't take any message from this really, but being a person of faith, I find more than a strange synchronicity in these facts. I see the hand of God--providence--in this small mercy. It's a little sign, easily overlooked in the horrors of the day. But if you think about it--the mechanics of the fall were providential as well. Easily within the shadow of the towers were two or three elementary schools, a college, and a high school (one of the most prominent in Manhattan--Stuyvesant--alma mater to such illustrious contributors as Thelonious Monk). If the buildings had toppled, or the debris been more scattered and spread, these children would also have been hurt.

I understand--the laws of physics governed the fall. This was not chance, nor was it one of several possibilities--it is simply the way the universe works. And yet, one can only wonder why the universe works that way and whether perhaps in His wisdom, when all was being fashioned this was a mercy that was worked into the fabric of creation. God, after all is God. The universe was His to make as He pleased. The "laws" of science that govern us were given us from His hand for His purposes.

Walking by the pit where these building once stood forces one to recognize both the horror of the tragedy and the great goodness of God who prevented it from being far worse that it already was. To me, this is a mysterious and hope-inspiring sign from God.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 3, 2008 9:44 AM.

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