Trials Turn to Gold

It’s a little odd, isn’t it? The way memory works. How when I think back to the most horrific days of my life, I remember the most inane little details. My most vivid memory of September 11, 2001 was the squishy crunch of dewy pine needles under my feet as I walked to my nine o’clock class. I was a twenty-three year old sophomore at Methodist College. Before I walked into that class, the biggest worry I had was how I was going to get through my PE 101 class without having a stroke while trying to keep up with the rest of my class on the track. But when I left the PE building that day, I was entering a whole new world.

9/11 was a landmark day for my friends and me—and not in a good way. My two best friends/suitemates and I spent hours and hours glued to the television. Initially, there was a bit of worry over how safe we were since our city is the home of the largest Army post in the world—Fort Bragg. But even once that worry was past, we couldn’t tear ourselves away from CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC. Days passed and we watched—praying that just one person would be found alive. Classes were cancelled and we just stayed right there in our suite, watching. We went to the cafeteria and got our meals to-go so that we could return to the room, to the news coverage.  The experience became one long blur.

From my personal journal on September 21, 2001 – “I think I’ve been weeping for ten days straight now. I can’t seem to stop crying for more than a few minutes at a time and late at night is absolute torture. I’m stunned at the magnitude of this thing that has gone on in the world. It seems terrifying and the odds seem insurmountable…”

I’m sure that many people felt the same way. Just after this, one of my suitemates had a nightmare. In her dream, she believed that if she could reach me, she’d be safe. She woke up in the middle of the night, terrified. She came through the darkened bathroom, crept into my room, and slipped into my little twin bed with me. For the rest of the semester, even if it meant she had to sleep on the sofa, she would not sleep unless I was in the same room.  Make no mistake about it– we were all severely shaken and life would never be the same.

The initial shock, fury, and devastation of eight years ago have changed to something different now. In me, they have fueled the passion to share the hope and love of Jesus with others. In my suitemate, they gave her the drive that she needed to go into the Army Reserves to help protect our country and others who are defenseless.  That’s the grace of God, isn’t it? To take such a violent act of hatred and death and turn it into Godly passion, compassion, and zeal. I love how God does that.

I considered not writing about 9/11 today. I know that a lot of others will write about it more profoundly or efficiently or skillfully than I. But when I considered the possibility of letting this date pass without saying something, I just couldn’t do it. It would have been ignoring what God has done in my friend and I. And it would have been a kind of betrayal to those brave military folks—including many of my friends—who have worked so hard for so many years now to make the world a better, safer place to live.

There’s a Keith Green song that I really love that says, “He’s brought me here, where things are clear, and trials turn to gold.” Thank God that He has brought us through thus far and that He’s brought us here, where things become clear, and trials begin to turn to gold.

So, to my Army friends: “HOOAH!”

To my Marine Corps friends: “OORAH!”

And to all of you: May God bless you and keep you as you continue to seek Him.

About Sarah Salter


  1. I do remember that day too Sarah.. Herman had just passed away in May and weird as it may seem.. I was standing in our Plumbing office and thought.. WOW… must be the Rapture and I was waiting to go see everyone.. I know strange.. My mind went back to the fact that when the Rapture takes place that even planes may be with out pilots.. However… we are still here… I thank God for all our military that has kept our shores safe.. To my Father who served in WWII a a C B (Construction battalion) in the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer and my husband who was a 2nd Class Petty Officer as an Airdale in the Navy in Viet Nam.. and to all the ones now.. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, & National Guard I too say God Bless you.. and a big THANK YOU.. And most of all our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.. who always protect us.. Thank you for that reminder Sarah..


  2. Neal Salter says:

    It’s strange where God allows you be at certain times in your life. Chris, my son, called me that morning and asked if I saw what was happening on TV. I was in my church office and did not have a TV. I went home and watched as most of America did, that morning, at all the horror and the many questions that were coming in from every part of the world. I wasn’t afraid about my safety, but I was really concerned for all those in the immediate area of the twin towers.

    That afternoon, I had the ordeal of laying in a dentist chair for more than three hours, while they worked on some major dental work. They didn’t ask me about what I was going through in the chair, if I was in pain or if I was comfortable; all they wanted to know, “Is this the end of the world?,” “Is this some prophecy from Revelation being fulfilled?,” Is God causing all this?” Have you ever tried to talk with your mouth full of dental instruments, your jaw numb and it’s hard to speak. Maybe it really was meant for me to be there to “be still and know that I am God.” For me, it gave me a lot of time to reflect as I prepared for the next several weeks and all that would be said and written about September 11, 2001. NO! I’ll never forget that day–where I was and what I was doing. Thanks for helping remind us to REMEMBER.

    Papa Bear

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