Since 9/11 we’ve become so familiar with the term “first responder”. Professionals we had long taken for granted. Police, EMT, fireman, security, were just those people who would do a job we could only shake our heads and wonder at.
Showing up, unannounced, in the midst of a trial or catastrophe. Going forward through the danger, working with the fear. Facing the situation. I learned in a brief stint in a nursing home that the employees are trained to run TOWARD the fire and to perform certain tasks in concert with others to insure the safety of the infirm. You are taught your entire life to flea from danger, and yet there are those who walk straight through it.
I am profoundly grateful that God is my first responder.
I’m the type of person that gets burned by someone’s insulting or condescending actions, and then instead of a applying cool compress and forgetting it, I fan the flame and keep the burn going.
Then I lament that I can’t turn off the bonfire in my mind, replaying all the retorts and obvious defenses over and over. Then I begin to quench it, and something else will go wrong, and it’s like gasoline is poured on the original coals and it flares up with vengeance.
When this happened to me months ago, God saw to it that His actual Word, was physically placed before me every day. It was from a page a day calendar of scripture. And each day the scripture would help me tremendously. Before I could turn up the heat on the raging pyre going on behind my eyes, poof, there would be another scripture.
All of them basically said one of two things:
Keep your big fat mouth shut……….or……..do as I do no matter what.
Everyday God was there waiting and ready to respond to my plea for help. Right there at the heart of contention and ridicule, God waded in and doused the coals simmering in my head. Sometimes 100 times a minute, He’d pat my brow and say You Can Do This, Because I Am With You.
Here are some of the examples that helped me get through the most trying time I’ve had in a long while:
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Not the easiest of things to do. Not only keep your mouth shut, but continue to offer up prayers for a blessing upon those who wronged. A blessing as we are called to do, so that we too would be blessed.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Oy. Just when you wanna poke someone right in the kisser, abstain? O dear. Hold fast to God.
Psalms 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Each day these were laid before me and my eyes fell on them, my breath would catch in my throat, because it was precisely and exactly what I needed to hear. I would set them before me so that I could not avoid seeing them. But this scripture in Psalms was the hardest one for me. Though I continued to conduct myself professionally and above board at all times, if my first responder wasn’t with me, with His holy hands over my mouth the entire time, I wouldn’t have made it.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil
I praise you most heavenly God. I thank you for every single solitary painful moment, as each one brought me to my knees, you were there to lift me higher. You are my protector, my Rock and Fortress.
You quenched the embers and saw me through every minute of the day. Your precious Word never failed me, and I will never forget how you saw me through, and how you rescued me from myself.
You responded when no one else could or even wanted to. I have learned so much and I am deeply grateful, and I will never tire of telling of your unfailing love.