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Beauty from AshesOh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Romans 11:33 Early on the morning of September 11, 2001, Tom McGuinness kissed his wife, Cheryl, goodbye and left for Boston's Logan airport, where he was scheduled to copilot American Airlines Flight 11 to Los Angeles. After driving their children, sixteen-year-old Jennifer and fourteen-year-old Tommy, to school, Cheryl poured a cup of coffee, grabbed a quilt and her Bible, and sat on the back porch of their Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home. Just as she finished praying, the phone rang. It was a friend, ask-ing if Tom was home. At her negative answer, he hesitantly told her a plane had been hijacked, and that he and his wife were on their way over to stay with her until they knew Tom was all right. Cheryl grabbed the TV remote, but none of the buttons seemed to work. Then Jennifer and Tommy called, having heard the report at school, wondering if their dad was okay. The house quickly filled with friends who prayed with Cheryl as they waited. She was frustrated, then frantic at the lack of news. Then Boston's chief pilot for American Airlines arrived and sadly gave her the official word: Flight 11 had not only been hijacked but had been deliberately flown into New York City's World Trade Center. Cheryl reeled, hysterical. �No, God, please don't call him home,� she sobbed. Friends drove Cheryl to school, where she met Jennifer and Tommy in the principal's office. They knew from the look on their mother's face she had bad news. All she could utter was, �Jesus called Daddy home.� They hugged and cried as Cheryl said God would take care of all of them, but they knew their lives had been changed forever. In the days that followed, Cheryl felt broken beyond what could ever be repaired. And the woman who had once described herself as a control freak was anything but in control. She was now totally dependent upon God and often began her prayers with �I can't go on alone. You are the only one who can get me through this.� Tom's memorial service was a tribute to his faith as hundreds packed their church, dabbing at their eyes as Tommy described how his father read the Bible each morning, providing memory stacked upon memory of his faithfulness to God's Word. Cheryl hugged that scene to herself, thankful Jennifer and Tommy had had a godly dad and had observed a loving husband's faith in action. But the days following the service were filled with constant reminders of her grief. Even during quick trips to the grocery store, she seemed to see only couples walking hand in hand. And, of course, she grappled with the toughest of all questions: Why did this happen? All of America had been struggling with this issue, but for Cheryl the question was personal as she wondered, Why Tom? Then, Why me? And what about our precious children? Who will walk Jen down the aisle some day? Who will teach Tommy to shave? Her only comfort came as she looked to God's Word and found assurance after assurance that her heavenly Father was with them all. She tried to maintain a regular home routine for the sake of the children as well as her own emotional stability. But during those early days, she felt all she could do was read the Word and pray. Her prayers were mostly cries for the Lord to hold her, comfort her, and strengthen her in her new roles as widow and single mom. �I would groan to God on my knees, knowing he hears my prayers,� Cheryl says. �Isaiah 65:24 proclaims, �Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.' I still take special comfort in that.� She also thanks God for protecting her from knowing the future. The last night with Tom was a special evening as they celebrated his forty-second birthday. After a two-day trip he had come home to a delicious meal Cheryl had taken all day to prepare. Jennifer's present to her dad was a love certificate for the two of them to go out to an Italian restaurant. Tommy's gift was to spend time with him working in the backyard for a day of cleaning up the woods. That night, Cheryl told Tom how she had seen God shape and mold him, and how honored she felt to be his wife. As she again said, �I love you,� his eyes shone, knowing the depth of her expression. As she replayed that evening in her mind, she was grateful God had not told her what the next morning would bring. If she had known, she is convinced she would have spent their final hours together pleading with God not to call Tom home. �Our last night would have been very different,� she says. �Realizing this helps me accept that God knows the times and seasons in our lives, and I don't need to know everything. In fact, I shouldn't know everything. I just need to move forward, trusting God each step of the way. �I've experienced the truth of the first part of Psalm 145:20 and I'm trusting him for the second part,� she says. �The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.' �We live in a world in which evil seems to progress unchecked,� she says. �When freedom is exercised in defiance of God, there are terrible consequences.