Our neighborhood sits at the crossroads of two cities. We live in the town of Morrisville but if you go out the entrance closest to our home you are in the much larger neighboring town of Cary. The other entrance opens up into Morrisville. I thought it interesting that the law enforcement vehicles of both cities as well as the County Sheriff’s all look alike. It is hard to tell who a particular officer represents unless you can see the name of the city written on the side of their car!
Back in California our city police cars were black and white while the Sherriff’s were white. The closest neighboring city to the south of Santa Rosa also had black and white patrol cars but the color scheme of the other markings and nomenclature were different and unique enough that one could easily tell they were from a different jurisdiction. (at least I could…) Through the years I found it interesting to follow the various colors of our local P.D. When I was a kid they were black and white. For a year or two they experimented with green units, then most likely for cost cutting reasons went plain white for quite a while and finally settled on the original, more traditional black and white.
Through the years, I’ve found it enjoyable to listen to the various First Responders with an emergency band radio. I started out with a single band, rather large table top unit and then back in the late 1980’s, after saving what at the time seemed like a wad of cash, purchased my first ten channel portable scanner for around $300.00. I had it preprogrammed for the local P.D. channels, Sheriff, city fire department, rural fire departments central command, California Division of Forestry, ambulance services and the California Highway Patrol. That radio lasted quite a few years up until the time we moved to Oklahoma when certain buttons just stopped functioning.
When we returned to home after Bible College I ended up purchasing another portable radio that made my old one look like a dinosaur! The new radio was half the size, was programmable for 300 channels, includes air traffic and marine frequencies and barely cost $100.00! It sits on my table here in North Carolina today but alas, sees little use as the local law enforcement use newer technology which is beyond the capabilities of my new radio. I just need to spend a little time playing with it to discover what it can pick up!
I think the sound of sirens breaking the still of the day or night and the sight of flashing red, blue and yellow lights tends to draw just about everybody’s attention. In our crossroads location we tend to hear a lot of sirens coming and going from all directions. We can’t see onto the main streets around us but many times can tell by the sound of the siren if it is a police unit, fire truck or ambulance. Many years ago, my wife started the tradition of offering a quick prayer for wisdom, peace and protection for the First Responders as they passed by. So I tend to automatically continue to do that today without much hesitation.
Having had the First Responders come to our home in California on numerous occasions for Piper’s emergency needs, I must say that I was always impressed with the courteous, calm and professional manner in which they conducted themselves. From the 911 operator to the engine company personnel, their words and demeanor set the stage for a peaceful and positive experience. They were great with Piper, encouraging to me and obviously well-trained to take care of the situation.
The idea of us as First Responders came to mind over the weekend as I read from Ephesians 1:7-8. The Easy to Read version tells us how “God gave us that grace (by which He redeemed us of our sins) fully and freely.” The King James translation states that “he hath abounded” that grace “toward us in all wisdom and prudence.” As I read that yesterday morning I instantly understood that Papa God has given us the tools as well as the ability to abound in all the wisdom and prudence or insight (as another version puts it) of the riches of His grace.
Then I realized that His grace in and through us should always be the First Response we bring into any situation that arises around us! We should be the siren, blinking lights and well-trained Christian professionals that people look to, who will bring His peace, His love and His power into their lives when things get a little crazy around them.
From what I have seen of late in my personal experiences as well as on recent TV news coverage, most emergency First Responders tend to get so focused on the situation and the needs of those involved that they tend to forget about their own fears and seek solely to help the individuals involved in the situation. I think that is the same way that God has empowered us to respond to the needs of those hurting around us.
One thing that I have learned the hard way is that fear distorts our thinking and subsequent actions. I have seen mature Christians go off the deep end when they allowed their personal fears to take control of their senses when they first came face to face with my wife’s devastating news. To me, the fear tended to cause them to become self-centered. So instead of casting aside their own inhibitions and seeking to do what was best for my wife, they made excuses to stay away from her. That’s not a reaction you will see from any emergency First Responder is it?
I don’t think it should be a reaction from us either… I believe Papa God wants us to use the tools He has given us to bring His grace, His peace and His answers into the troubled lives of those we encounter on a daily basis. Would you agree? Have a great week. Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or How am I expecting my FIRST RESPONSE to other needs to be today?”