I confess that I write this post today after hearing about the death of a first-responder police sergeant who gave his life trying to save others in Thousand Oaks, California. As a former volunteer firefighter, I’m especially sensitive to this kind of tragedy. So, may I make a suggestion to you?
Every time you hear a siren, take time to pray. Here’s why:
- First responders are often traveling at fast speeds through traffic. Even the drive or ride to the scene can be risky. The siren sound says, “Move out of the way”—but not everyone hears it or responds to it.
- The first responders may be walking into danger. Running into it, actually, in order to rescue others.
- They all represent a family. Some are smaller or larger than others, but all may someday get the tragic call about the death of a loved one.
- They may be your church members. Or even your family. You may know the very people on their way to deal with something difficult.
- They may face incredible pain. We’ve heard far too many stories lately from responders whose job required them to walk into tragic scenes. The images are surely difficult to process.
- They may not be believers. Their lives are on the line, but they’re not ready for eternity. I don’t know how they deal with such tragedies without knowing God.
- They need wisdom. How do they best approach a criminal suspect? Or a club filled with college students when they hear shots fired? Or a fire that already seems out of control? Or a possible bomb on the street?
- They’re protecting you and your family, too. Despite all the controversies regarding police officers over the last few years, most first responders genuinely want to help. They would put themselves in risky situations for you, too.
So, I say it again: when you hear a siren, pray for the first responders.
You might even invite your small group or church to join you in praying, and then let the first responders know that believers are praying for them. You never know what God might do in those relationships.