“Tuck your cloak into your belt,” God told them, “and keep your shoes on and your staff in hand.” So that they would be ready to run. The staff was used to fend off wild animals and to climb up steep and rocky inclines, a clue that they wouldn’t be in the house long. The Israelites were also instructed to keep their shoes on. Meals in this culture were typically long, so during dinner they would take off their shoes, recline and relax. This meal, in contrast, was to be eaten quickly as they prepared to dash off at a moment’s notice.
The telephone operator who spoke with Todd Beamer on September 11 said that his voice was calm. Before he and his seat-mates stormed the cockpit, he asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Twenty-third Psalm with him. When they were done, he asked her if she would call his wife and two sons, ages 3 and 1, and she said she would. Then Todd quietly and confidently said, “Let’s roll.” Calm confidence comes when we’ve waited on God to do His part and have been obedient to His instructions to us. The Israelites had their robes tucked in, shoes on their feet and staffs in hand. They had their family and friends around them as they stood ready to move. Chaos and destruction surrounded them, but in their households, they remained calm in the knowledge that they were in God’s hands and part of His bigger plan.
No one has to say that the events of 9/11 were hugely significant. We are aware of the impact this day had on everyone. Books were written by survivors and by those who lost loved ones on that day. Their stories have become part of our history and generations of Americans will learn of them. God instructed the Israelites to tell the story of the Passover and their dramatic exodus from Egypt and to commemorate it for generations to come.
When a person lives out God’s will, his or her obedience becomes a part of the history God is writing. We remember those who move out in faith; those first steps of bravery are spoken about for generations. We do still hear the stories of ancestors who risked everything they had to come to a new land, arriving with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, or how they resisted oppression, trusting God for help.