In Sunday School we’ve been learning about the Exodus of the Isrealites from Egypt. Yesterday, we looked at the point in time where the Isrealites had left and had their backs up against the sea. The Egyptian army was breathing down their backs ready for revenge. Our teacher asked us to think on these questions.
- What was Pharaoh feeling/thinking?
- What should have Pharaoh been feeling/thinking?
- What were the Isrealites feeling/thinking?
- What should have the Isrealites been feeling/thinking?
Our answers boiled down to several things:
- They had forgotten.
- They had lost focus on God.
Both parties had forgotten.
The past nine months or so had seen ten plagues decimate Egypt and leave Israel without any harm. Egypt’s cattle had died of disease overnight; Israel’s cattle escaped. Hail took out the rye and barley fields leaving the wheat crop. Locusts ate up the wheat and then instead of dying off, fled overnight to the Red Sea. Darkness surrounded the Egyptians for three days, while Israel went about their normal lives. Finally, the firstborn son was killed. The Egyptian army had a reason to fear the rag-tag group of former slaves, but they forgot. Israel left Egypt taking with them all the wealth of the land. They had reason to be confident. However, the Egyptians came after Israel and the Israelies feared the Egyptians.
I find it ironic that on a day where the class focused on remember being a key factor in our spiritual walk, nothing was said about what day it was. Fifteen years ago the life of every single American changed. I could almost say that the lives of every human in first world countries changed. The theme of the days to follow was “Never Forget”. Yet, in the last ten years even, I only remember one memorable 9/11. That was two years ago.
I was the new Spanish teacher in our local school district. I was able to have my daughter in the Spanish 2 class as well as an exchange student from Basque Country, Spain. That day, instead of starting off the school day with the pledge of allegiance through the intercom, the school vocal ensemble sang the national anthem. With tears in my eyes, I turned to the class and told them where I was on that day. Most of them were only 4-years-old at the time. The exchange student came up to me and thanked me for sharing. He shared how he and his family were on vacation when they heard. At first they thought it was a movie. As the events played out, his family understood the seriousness of the matter.
They had lost focus on God.
The Egyptians and the Israelites had a nine month training course in who the Lord God was. He had just proven Himself powerful over all Egyptian gods. He had shown Himself worthy of Israel’s praise. Yet, both parties when it came down to it, focused on other things. Egypt focused on revenge, while the Israelites focused on the water in front of them and the army coming at them from behind.
In the days that followed 9/11, I remember people turning to God. They prayed. They looked to the One who had answers. However, I’m afraid that we’ve lost our focus on God. We’ve gone about everyday business without any shake up or major catastrophes, and we’re focusing on life. If things go wrong, we may even blame God!
Let’s not forget; let’s focus on God.
That Tuesday morning fifteen years ago started out like any other day. I was running late to get the kids up for school. I walked into the kitchen, turned on the radio and went toward their doors to get them up. I didn’t make it across the kitchen before I heard the news and stopped dead in my tracks. Since I had missed the 7:00 news break, the morning show hosts reitterated for those who had missed it what had happened. With shock and tears, I went about my morning routine, trying to explain to a 7th grader, 2nd grader, a Kindergartener, and a 4-year-old why I was crying. I eventually waited for dial-up to download Fox News’ photos of the day and stared in horror at the devistation. I waited with baited breath to hear from a friend who worked at the Pentagon.
As the day moved on, I met with a group of ladies for our regular monthly prayer time. I was the youngest lady there. They reminised about the day JFK was shot and even Pearl Harbor! I felt I could relate to those memories of Pearl Harbor, because my news had come from radio. The next evening at church we prayed–for those involved, for those who’d lost loved ones, and for our country.
Fifteen years ago a tragedy turned everyday people into heroes. Firefighters and police officers became men of honor and integrity who gave their lives in the line of duty. Today, police officers don’t know if they are going to be treated with respect or shot at! Fifteen years ago, no one would have dreamed of the shootings and police brutality we have today. Where have our memories gone?
What about you? Have you forgotten? Do you need a place to remember? Feel free to leave a comment here, if it will work (I’m still trying to figure that out), on my Facebook page or via twitter. Where were you? What were your feelings that day and in the weeks to follow? Did you reach out to God?