If you know me you know that I was a cop prior to becoming a pastor. That part of my life was over 30 years ago. The police experience never really leaves you, it just gets toned down and will always remain in some form. My wife calls me a protector. I go into a certain mode in some situations where I sense danger is afoot. The average person would not even see the potential for danger. For a police officer the repeated exposure to danger, and the training on how to deal with it, changes how you process life.
In police circles there is a phrase – “Response Time.” This is the time it takes a police officer to come to your assistance in an emergency. The national average for responding officers runs anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes depending on the location of the officer at the time of the emergency call and how much distance he or she must cover to get to you. A lot can happen to potential a victim in 3-7 minutes if a bad guy has broken into a home and wants to harm those inside. Until the police arrive we are “the police” and we are responsible to protect ourselves and those we love. Without releasing any unneeded sense of fear, this is the reality of life in a fallen world.
As I thought of this response time in a natural setting where bad guys, police and victims occasionally intersect with each other, I also thought of spiritual response times. What happens when you have a spiritual emergency? Who is the first person you call? Calling a pastor or your home group leader is great, but there is a response time before they can get to you or return your call. The devil can do a lot of damage while you wait for someone to arrive.
What if you and I first called the Lord in our times of spiritual emergency? He is always present and not distant – ever. It is good to eventually call the leaders and friends in your life, but calling on the Lord first is where your real safety comes from. Good friends and leaders, when they eventually arrive, will always direct you towards Him anyway. Wouldn’t it be powerful if the next time you and I realized hell was trying to break into our lives that in our initial call to a friend to come and meet with us that we let them know while they were responding we were holding the intruder at gunpoint until they arrived?
Having a prepared heart in a fallen world is a heart that is at rest in the night because the One Who is your protector is always there and requires no time to respond in times of need. You call and He is there and this makes the bad guys think twice about messing with you and those you love.