September 28, 2012
Early in my psychiatric career I learned something very important that I’d like to share with you. I was called into a very difficult situation in the ER, one that caught me by surprise. An angry patient had a knife and threatened to hurt one of our nurses. Hospital security was there and the police were on the scene. 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 our nurse and gave me his knife. We treated him in that stage of his struggle, and then he went to jail.
Once the intensity lessened and everybody was safe, the nurse thanked me. Previously we had many interactions but now she had a serious question, “How were you able to be so calm and clear to talk him down?” Here was my chance to share the source of my peace, but I didn’t want to seem arrogant. Without thinking I blurted out, “This is what I was trained to do and any psychiatrist or ER doc could have done the same thing.”
I was caught off guard, so I gave her a lame answer. A few minutes later, I knew exactly what I could have shared about my source of peace, happiness and joy. 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 answer really just pop out of my mouth? It was as if someone asked me if I know Jesus, and I “pulled a Peter” – denying my association with Jesus. I can’t believe I choked. I wasn’t keeping it real or telling the truth. Does this happen to you?
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 continued to bring odd (and sometimes dangerous), life-and-death situations in which I was able to utilize the gifts He has given me. I was almost always asked by staff how I was able to handle and achieve favorable outcomes. In every one of those situations, I testified to God’s empowerment, giving me His peace, wisdom, and discernment, as well as the blessing of special training. The most enlightening information I would tell them is that it was not my job to save or change the other person. I was just the vehicle, so I didn’t feel any pressure. The pressure was on God, so I was able to be at rest and have a front seat for His great performance.
It’s rare that someone asks such a direct question of us, but when it happens, scripture tells us to be ready. We are most ready when we see God in all things. You see, I am trying to grow my spiritual radar, my awareness of God, in all aspects of my life, 24/7. If we only connect with Him on Sunday, 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 no matter how far we turn from Him, nor would we ever want to.
Today, think how you might respond when someone asks 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. Acknowledging or denying Christ is 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. Lord, help me 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. Matthew 5:16
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