“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
–Mark 14:38 (NLT)
Have you ever thought about all the safety devices we have these days? There are seatbelts, security cameras and smoke alarms, just to name a few.
But to me, the security feature that is extra special is the fire drill. It has played an important part in my life on several occasions, and I would like to tell you how.
I don’t have any dramatic stories to share, but the fire drill kept me safe without a doubt. I remember the exhilaration I felt whenever that intermittent bell got me out of class as a child, along with the sense of peace and well-being it gave me. Conversely, I also remember the letdown I felt every time the all-clear bell sounded. I would never fail to drag my feet as I shuffled back to class.
If they were honest, I think psychologists would have to rank my experience right up there with clinical depression. In my humble opinion, that all-clear bell needs to be eliminated altogether. I believe it’s responsible for many of our educational and societal problems, and I have no doubt that the absence of that sound would eliminate some of these problems.
You might be scratching your head right about now, wondering where I’m going with this. If that is the case, I would like a chance to explain. Since stress and tension bring on depression, and many children who commit senseless acts suffer from this malady according to popular oppinion, I feel that we would be remiss if we didn’t alleviate this stress from their lives. I strongly believe that by getting rid of the all-clear bell, our nation would not only be much safer, but other ramifications which I can’t go in to here would be experienced in shocking ways.
I would call for a revival of the fire drill among adults, however, without reinstituting the above bell at the end. I say this because we grown-ups also need to step away from the classroom of life once in a while.
Even if you think my views on this subject are far-fetched, you would have to agree that the fire drill is a thing of the past for most adults. We can no longer leave these drills exclusively at school, for this confinement has truly brought about a sad state of affairs.
All kidding aside, the fire drill does have much to teach us. It points us to what God has shown us in His Word all along.
I would like to paint a picture for you. The fire drill teaches us to be watchful, prepared and alert. Let’s see how Jesus used this technique when preparing His disciples to face the fires of life.
In Mark chapter 4, Jesus sat in a boat on a lake and preached to a multitude of people. He used parables to teach them about the different responses people had to His presence and His gospel. But when evening fell, Jesus asked His disciples to pack up and set sail for the other side of the lake. By now He was exhausted, and so He promptly went to the back of the boat to catch some sleep.
Suddenly the waves began to roar, and water began filling the boat at an alarming rate. I can just imagine the disciples trying to fix things in their own strength, while Jesus calmly took a nap in the back.
Before we get too critical, let’s put ourselves in the disciples’ place. If we are honest with ourselves, all of us sometimes wonder if God has deserted us when hard times come our way. But this is also where Jesus uses the fire-drill technique to prepare us in the twenty-first century. He knows that our lives will definitely contain storms that are just as strong as that storm on the lake.
In this Bible story, Jesus gives us a practical example of what will happen when we take our eyes off of Him. Notice that I don’t say “if”., but “when”. None of us goes through life unscathed, but God lovingly prepares us for inevitable problems. As we go throughout our days, He sometimes lets our boats fill with water during minor situations. But just as He did in this story, Jesus wants to make sure that we draw on His strength when times get really tough.
So let our Lord teach you by using the fire-drill method. He wants all of us to learn to abide in His loving arms. By doing this, you will find that you can face life with the confidence and joy He provides.
Sometimes in my life, it seemed much easier to look at the storm in front of me than to keep my eyes on Christ. As I faced some difficulties, I often wondered what God was doing, and the result of that kind of thinking carried to the extreme was the temptation to give up. I have a tendency to go ahead of God if I am not careful, so I sometimes thought if I didn’t try to bail out on my own, the job would never get done. But you know what? At those times God had something up His sleve, and I can guarantee you that the same thing is true in your life.
Do you find yourself in one of life’s desperate moments today? Do you feel like you are sinking into anger or sadness? If so, I encourage you not to give up, and remember that Satan plays off of your emotions. I also encourage you to read the fourth chapter of Mark, and allow God’s Word to speak to your situation. No matter how bleak things may seem, my friend, remember that God is always faithful.
The Bible says that all things work together for good, to those who are called according to His purpose. So you can take His hand in a new way, for just as God brought the early disciples to the other side of the lake, He can bring you through what you are facing.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
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