Die With Your Boots On
I just finished watching a special on 9-11 and was graphically reminded of what commitment and bravery are all about. I was particularly captured by the actions of four young men on Flight 93.
Collectively these men were responsible for organizing and executing a plan to thwart the intentions of Muslim terrorists who had commandeered the airplane. After one passenger had been brutally stabbed to death before their eyes they could have cowered in fear and been paralyzed. After seeing that they were more than likely not going to see their families ever again these young American males could have decided to perhaps plead with their hijackers for mercy. This was not the case. Instead, these gentlemen made a decision to fight.
Tom Burnett (38) – Married to Deena, father of three daughters, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Thoratec Corp., a medical research and development company
Todd Beamer (32) – Married to Lisa, father to three children, account software manager for Oracle Corp.
Jeremy Glick (31) – Married to Lyzbeth, father to newborn daughter, sales manager for an Internet company
Mark Bingham (31) – a publicist from San Francisco
I don’t know the eternal state of these men for I didn’t know them personally nor am I God. Mr. Bingham since he was an openly homosexual man would certainly seem to cast doubts as to his salvation. However, be that as it may, each of these men showed courage and determination and strength amidst intense trial. A trait we would all do well to remember.
Each of them had active physical and team-oriented backgrounds as well as being known as ‘action men’ – Burnett was a collegiate football player and avid outdoorsman. Beamer was an enthusiastic baseball, basketball and soccer player. Glick was a state wrestler and a judo champion and Bingham was a former rugby star at UC Berkeley and even ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Deena Burnett wrote this about her husband Tom, “He was a man’s man. Not in a way that wears machismo like a tattoo, but in the strength of his character, in the courage of his convictions, in the depth of his love for his family, in his modesty and reticence to self-aggrandize, in the moment-to-moment expressions of his nimble mind and quick wit, in his easy and seamless fit into the form of a leader of people, and in the depth of his faith.”
I’m reminded of Christ’s words on self-defense in Luke 22:36 when he told his disipcles to buy a sword for protection if they did not already own one. We should protect ourselves from invaders, criminals, and tyrants for it is good, godly and right. We should not think that being a Christian means that we lay on our backs like a new puppy and wimper and urinate on ourselves when the seemingly bigger person looms over us. Like all men, those who would attempt to cripple nations by cowardly acts of terrorism need the gospel. They also need to be put to death by the sword that God has instituted as a form of His wrath against evildoers (Romans 13:1-4). The men of Flight 93 were men who had learned the lesson of valor and knew along with Iron Maiden’s vocalist Bruce Dickinson, “that if you’re gonna to die? …die with your boots on.”
As we reflect back on 9-11, I pray that we never forget the wickedness of Islam’s jihad and the necessity of fortitude and perseverance under the hand of the One true God. While our mission on this earth is primarily the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ as the Savior of all men, we are at times also called to remind the world of His wrath as vigilance resists villainy.