John Wesley finally saw how little he knew of Jesus in the middle of the Atlantic, on board the Simmonds, when a storm suddenly broke out. A group of Moravian missionaries happened to be having a worship service on deck at the time. Wesley records that, when the storm became intense, “a terrible screaming began among the English.” But “the Germans looked up, and without intermission calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterwards, ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked, ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied mildly, ‘No; our women and children are not afraid to die.’” Wesley then knew that something was missing from his life. He found it in Christ. He found all he needed to face life and death in Christ alone.
When the next 9/11 hits us, may we serve others in every way we can. But through it all, and even right now, may we not yield to hysteria. May we calmly sing on, because we have in Christ a hope that nothing in this world can destroy. Our serenity will make an everlasting difference to others.
The Wesley episode narrated in A. Skevington Wood, The Inextinguishable Blaze: Spiritual Renewal and Advance in the Eighteenth Century (Grand Rapids, 1968), pages 105-106.