This is my meltdown moment.
In the 80s and early 90s I worked in the private security sector. My goal was to be hired with the city police, and I had taken a number of policing/security courses to that end. Being a cop was my dream, not God’s, or my wife’s. I did not hear God say “yes” or “no” to my dream, but He let me scratch my itch for a time. But in December 1990 everything changed.
I was working as a loss prevention officer in a large department store. It was a busy Saturday two weeks before Christmas. I watched a tall male pick up a Nintendo unit, put it under his arm and walk out of the store into the attached mall. I started after him, he saw me coming, and dropped the game. I stepped over the Nintendo, still chasing him, and seeing me follow him, he ran full speed out of the back door of the mall. I was starting to catch up to him as he ran out the mall door.
Making assumptions can be costly, and that day I paid dearly. I assumed that he would run out the door and I would follow seconds after him through the open door, but I was wrong. As I got near the door, running full speed, he turned and grabbed the door and slammed in into me.
Instinctively I threw my hands, palms out, in front of my face, and there was an explosion of glass. I was on my hands and knees in a pile of bloody glass. But, the chase was still on, into the parking lot. However, due to bleeding from a severed artery, I ended the pursuit, tying my hoodie around my arm. As I went back into the store, staff came to help, and the manager drove me to the hospital. In emergency, I had a doctor who was great, cleaning and putting the puzzle of tissue back together on each hand. About 30 stitches later, permanent nerve damage in one hand, and loss of blood, I was good to go.
Before I left the hospital, I asked to use the bathroom, which didn’t make much sense, since I neither needed to use it nor could I have, with both hands bandaged. But, I needed a place for my meltdown moment – “Lord, where were you!?” I was angry and worried – the doctor did not give my left hand much hope. I had asked him if I could still play drums and lift weights, and was answered with shrugs and uncertainty.
I remember standing in front of the bathroom mirror and saying to God that it could not have been worse (an unwise phrase to use!). Immediately I became aware that my right eye was twitching a little. Noticing a small drop of blood on the edge of my orbital socket, I got closer to the mirror. I found that there was a small piece of glass, the pointed end of which was stuck in the bone about 1/8 of an inch from my eye.
I found myself back-pedaling from my phrase, “God, it could not have been any worse.” As I carefully removed it, I realized that God could have intervened sooner, being my Helper, but He waited, and proved He was God! That was the sense that I was left with – God is still in control!
Later I learned that, after having been chased and tracked by police, the man was never caught. It took a long time, including plastic surgery, to get over this; hearing glass break would cause me to freeze for quite a while, and it took time to be able to write about it without emotions overwhelming me. Soon after the incident I left private security. I had many good experiences as well – many successful arrests and an honest track record – but I finally moved on – the itch had been scratched.
God is Lord, and He is good and He is right, even when we don’t see it. We do need good men and women in the police force, including Christians. Although I wanted to do police work, and I enjoyed doing private security, and was good at it, it was not good for me. I was slowly being sucked into a negative dark hole. I came to understand that God had to yank on my leash hard that day to turn me away from something that would have slowly poisoned me. I learned to put the “t” in front of the “rust” and trust in His goodness.
I want to finish by looking at Jesus’ mother, Mary. In Luke 1:28, Gabriel greets her with,”Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” Her response in verse 29 is, “she was troubled at his saying, and considered what matter of greeting this was.”
Some scholars say Mary could have been as young as thirteen when she received this message. After Gabriel has finished delivering this message, her response in verse 38 is a lesson for us all – especially the Marthas (and Waynes) of this world – “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
At times our world may fall apart and lie in pieces. Like Mary, we may be troubled, but with our trust in His Lordship and goodness, we, like Mary, can proclaim, “Let it be to me according to Your word.” It’s all about trust!
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