Early in my psychiatric career, I was caught by surprise, but learned something very important, so let me share it with you. I was called into a very difficult situation in the ER. An angry patient had a knife and threatened to hurt one of the nurses. Hospital security was there, but the situation was volatile. I was asked if I might be able to calm him down. Thankfully, we were able to have a discussion. He released the nurse and gave me his knife. We were able to treat and help his struggle.
The nurse thanked me afterward and asked, “How were you able to be so calm and clear and talk him down?” Previously I had many interactions with this nurse, but now she had a serious question. I didn’t want to seem arrogant, and replied, “This is what I was trained to do and any psychiatrist or ER doc could have done the same thing.”
I knew exactly where I get my source of happiness and joy, but I was caught off guard. So I gave her a lame answer. She didn’t push me for more and I think she sensed my uneasiness with her question, but I could tell she was disappointed in my answer. Wow, so was I. Did that really just pop out of my mouth? It was as if someone was asking me if I know Jesus, and I was denying my association with Jesus. I can’t believe I was being like Peter and denying my Lord so blatantly.
A few days following that encounter I was reading 1 Peter and came across 3:15 where we are instructed to always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. I vowed I would never again deny my Lord when asked if I know Him. Thankfully, God brought many odd and sometimes dangerous, complex life-and-death situations in which I could utilize the equipping He blessed me with.
Almost always, I was asked by staff how I was able to handle and achieve favorable outcomes. I was able, in every one of those situations, give testimony to God empowering me, giving me a peace, wisdom, and discernment, as well as the blessing of special training. The most enlightening information I tell them is that it is not my job to save or change the other person. I am just the vehicle, so I don’t feel any pressure. The pressure is on God, so I can be at rest and get a front seat to His great performance.
It’s rare for someone to ask such a direct question of us, but when they do, scripture tells us to be ready. We are more ready when we see God in all things. You see, I am trying to grow my awareness, my spiritual radar, to see God in all aspects of my life, 24/7. When we only connect with Him on Sunday, or before meals, or when we really need His help during stormy times, then we will only see Him as a small accessory in our life. In reality, He is our life and is in all facets of our life. We can’t escape Him, nor would we ever want to.
Today, think how you might respond when someone asks you the reason for the hope within you. Can you articulate to yourself the impact your faith and God’s actions have in your daily, moment-to-moment living. This is what we need to show and tell others. Your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father, I come to You with a thankful heart. I recognize Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and I trust Him for the strength I so desperately need to lead a God-pleasing life. Help me, Lord, to speak when called upon to defend my faith and to spread Your message of forgiveness, faith, love and hope. Help me do so with gentleness and respect. Help me, Lord, to be a lighthouse for those in need. I pray with the authority granted to me through Jesus Christ; and all God’s people say – AMEN!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
1 Peter 3:15