Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Same Model Car, Different Worlds.

"TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:79
We might read an excerpt from Zacharias’ prophecy over the infant who would grow up to become John the Baptist as a glimpse into the realities faced by law enforcement officers, firemen, and paramedics.  As we launch our Shield A Badge ministry, I want to encourage you to make the commitment to pray for these who “sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
I sat in my car one evening last week waiting at a stoplight when a Weatherford Police Officer passed through the intersection in front of me.  He was driving a white Dodge Charger.  I was driving a black Dodge Charger. 

I was headed home.  He was driving his beat…the streets of our city. 
I was dressed in my usual ministerial get-up: khaki slacks and a golf shirt.  He was wearing body armor, a bulletproof vest, his uniform, two pair of handcuffs, a Taser, extra ammo, a firearm, and a badge. 
When I am at work, people who love me, who share a common faith, in an environment where I feel safe and comfortable, surround me.  When he is at work, his life is frequently in danger.  If surrounded, he places himself between the assailant and the innocent.  In order to preserve the peace, he may have to initiate or endure physical violence. 

If I have a bad day, I may come home stressed.  If he has a bad day, he may never see home again.

Let Us Pray
Does it occur to me to pray for the men and women of law enforcement?  What about other First Responders such as Fire Fighters, and EMT’s?  In the last few years, I’ve developed the habit of thanking first responders when I see them in public…a firm handshake and a sincere expression of gratitude.  They are always very gracious and seem to appreciate it.  Perhaps you share these sentiments. You may even have expressions of your own.  But do we pray?

What is the power, the influence, the effect, of prayer to the daily walk of a law enforcement officer, a fire fighter, an ambulance driver or paramedic?  If our God really is a protector…and He is, we should pray his protection for these brave men and women.  As our God really is the Wonderful Counselor, then we should pray for the hearts and minds…for the emotional health and inner peace of these persons who place themselves on the line to protect us from the violence, anger, and trauma that we do not want to encounter or endure.   As our God is Jehovah Rapha…our Healer, we should pray wisdom for them as they strive to preserve and protect life…bringing healing to broken individuals and families.

My family must have some peace in knowing that I work in ministry.  While occasionally stressful, and there is the periodic encounter with persons who are disturbed, very few people would describe ministry as “Dangerous.”  The spouses and families of first responders however must carry with them the knowledge of the risk that comes with the calling of being a cop, or a fire fighter, or an EMT.  So we will pray for the families as well.  For the strength of marriages…for the safety of mothers and fathers who leave their families every day, with a gun strapped to their side, or destined to enter burning structures, or be exposed daily to the traumatic sight of people’s broken bodies, or exposed to persons infected with deadly diseases…all in the name of preserving life and reducing suffering. 

We will pray for First Responders…Because.

Scripture to Claim:
“I will be strong and courageous. I will not be terrified, or discouraged; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” Joshua 1:9

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