Alan Jackson begins his beautiful lament of that tragic day with these words:
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day Out in the yard with your wife and children Working on some stage in LA? Did you stand there in shock at the site of That black smoke rising against that blue sky? Did you shout out in anger In fear for your neighbor Or did you just sit down and cry?
I was out in the warehouse verifying inventory counts when Diane, my coworker and friend, came over and informed me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center Towers. As one prone to focus too much on the task at hand, I made some comment and returned to my counts. After all, how much damage could a couple of small, private planes do to those towers?
I returned to the office area after a bit and saw the staff huddled around a TV. Black smoke rose against the blue sky as both towers were engulfed in flames. As we continued to watch the coverage, we witnessed the towers crumble to the ground. I went into the restroom and wept.
I was again in the warehouse a month later when the human resources manager came out and said that Shirley, the company president, wanted to see me. It’s funny, sometimes, the things that run through our minds. As I walked towards the office area, I happened to recall a sermon from college, in which the pastor challenged us not to always expect the worst in situations. As a result, I entered Shirley’s office with a degree of optimism.
It’s funny how God sometimes chooses to answer our heartfelt prayers. The challenge of balancing family, seminary and a fulltime job had worn me down, so I had been praying during each morning commute for God to work something out.
Shirley had called me into the office to inform me that I was being laid off due to the downturn in the economy. She graciously offered me a choice of severance packages to help provide for my family as I looked for other work. That morning set in motion a series of events that rocked my faith and caused me to wrestle with questions of God’s goodness.
 “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” was recorded by Alan Jackson on his album “Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.”