Dispatcher: “911, Please state the nature of your emergency.”
Caller: “HELP!! Oh my God, there’s blood everywhere! Help!”
Dispatcher: “Please calm down, sir. What is the nature of your emergency?”
Caller: “Please, please help, she fell with a knife, and there is blood spurting all over. HELP! OH, Please help! She was cooking me breakfast!”
Dispatcher: “I’ve sent for help, but in the meantime, I need you to calm down, sir. I need you to follow my instructions carefully. Now, where is she bleeding from?”
Caller: “She’s bleeding on the floor oh, it’s dreadful, she was cooking me breakfast, it’s my fault! HELP! Why doesn’t someone help, Help!! Oh, please help! I think I smell something burning.”
Dispatcher: “Sir, help is on the way. Is the knife still in the wound? We need to stop the bleeding. Make sure your stove is turned off.”
A stream of expletives erupting on the other end of the phone causes the dispatcher to wince.
“It’s your job to stop the bleeding! I don’t know how to cook, I leave that to my wife. Where are the ambulances!”
“Sir, SIR! I can’t help you unless you listen to my instructions. We need to stop the bleeding…. and turn off that stove!”
The sound of the phone dropping on the floor is heard, quickly followed by the sound of a slamming door and panicked shouts. “911 won’t help, and she’s on the floor, bleeding. She was cooking me breakfast. I think she burned the bacon!”
Dispatcher: Sir, Sir? Is anyone there? Hello? Anyone?”
Dispatcher’s second line rings. “Hello? I’d like to report that my neighbour is running down the State Street, in his pajama bottoms, screaming his head off. Something about his wife, burned bacon, and a knife? I think I’m smelling smoke, now that I come to think about it.”
Dispatcher to the rescue crew: “Be advised, be on the lookout for a hysterical male, who was last seen in the area of State Street, running down the middle of the road. His spouse, female, age unknown, name unknown, medical history unknown, has been reported to be bleeding from a knife wound and is currently left unattended. I’m dispatching a fire engine and the police as well.”
Unfortunately, this scene is not based on fantasy, but it is based on actual emergency calls. Emergency dispatchers are trained to give simple instructions on how to apply a direct compress to stop bleeding. By the time that help does arrive, the injured needlessly lose a significant amount of blood. However, 911 cannot help if the caller will not heed the instructions given.
Do You Hinder Those That God Sends to Help You?
When life crashes around us; when loved ones are struck down with a grave illness, when we face sudden ruin, when we are in dire and immediate physical danger, we cry out to God for help. God is fully equipped to come to our aid. All too often, in the midst of our panic and fear, we fail to calm our hearts so we can hear His response and respond to His instruction. We are so busy calling out to Him that we fail to realise He is speaking.
When I face a sudden emergency, adrenaline rushes through my veins. I must be mindful to slow my breathing and focus my thoughts. As I have been a Christ follower for most of my life, it’s second nature for me to call out to God. However, it is vital that I don’t just send out a repeated, panicked inner scream, I must quiet my thoughts long enough to hear His directives. Should I call 911? Am I to call a friend? Perhaps I should seek legal counsel. Maybe I am imagining that the situation is much worse than it actually is, and I need to wait on Him and allow Him to speak His truth. If I don’t still my racing emotions, I am unable to hear. If I don’t stop to listen, I will never know what the Lord is saying. If I am not obedient, I dull my spiritual senses.
If I push through my fear and take hold of courage, He will guide me.
Isaiah 30:19b,21 – “He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you… And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
God knows us intimately. He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He is well aware of our go-to responses when crises come our way. First, invite Him to search your heart, then allow Him to show you your heart’s condition.
Psalm 139:23 (MSG) – “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about…”
Make a mental note of the way you responded to crises in your past. Ask the Lord for strategies to overcome those hindrances that block you from instantly obeying His directives. Come up with a game plan long before you need that game plan. Think of this exercise as a spiritual “Fire Drill” of sorts. You’ll need to practice this drill on a regular basis for you to instinctually respond to God first and not blindly react to an immediate crisis.
Here are some thoughts off the top of my head. Each of us responds to emergencies differently so your go-to response might not be listed below.
Flight or Fight? Grasp for Control or Refuse to Budge?
Is paralysing fear your initial response to danger? Ask the Lord for strategies on how to break through that initial gut-wrenching fear. He might lead you to do a word study on anxiety and courage. He might do a bit of heart surgery and dig down to the root of that fear. In the natural, children have a tendency to hide from their rescuers. Do you hide from God even as you call out to Him?
Do you tend to talk more than listen? Keep a running conversation with God. Learn the difference between a discussion and a one-sided commentary! Get to know His voice.
Do you respond to danger with an urge to blindly strike out at anyone and everything?
Remember, the Lord is your commander, and He knows you well, He knows just how to lead you. He is able to keep His emotions in check when a vortex of whirling, conflicting emotions crash over you. He sees the whole picture. You are a foot soldier, and well-trained foot soldier instantly responds to commands, even in the midst of fear.
Practice being obedient to God’s subtle promptings. Does He want you to put down the remote? Does He want you to check in on a friend? Don’t second guess yourself. Never forget that God knows best, and be swift to deal with internal rebellion and a sense that you would rather God would keep His nose out of your daily decisions.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2018 Katherine Walden
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