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The Scariest Duty - Part 2

Chaplain Bill Wolfe

Heeeeeeeeeeere’s August! Hey! You came back. Wanted to see what kind of “scary” I could dig up this time, eh? Well, right now knowing that there’s a bunch of folks waiting to see what I’m gonna write makes writing this month a little scary.

Ok. Scary. “It was a dark and stormy night…” nah, I won’t go there. I’ll leave that one for Snoopy.

As a starting point, let’s review something I said last time:

Ok, what makes something scary? Well, there is some component of the scenario that triggers a fear response. That component can be as diverse as the person facing it. It could be the subject(s) involved, the location, the time, the availability of backup. But I would suggest that two of the major things are the lack of confidence in the ability to control the situation, and the fear of the unknown – the inability to know all the variables in the situation and the unpredictability of the outcome. Or, to put it another way, the fear of the unknown is a fear of what impact the resolution of the event will have on me physically and/or mentally: Will it mess with my “status quo”? Will it rock my boat or sink it?

Facing the scary scenario and plowing through it is what some call taking a step (or leap) of faith. A person may well come out the other side a changed individual…

The “Scariest Duty.” That phrase triggers memories and anticipation in most of our minds. What seems frightening at the time often isn’t so frightening when looked at when it’s behind us. Ah, there’s someone out there that isn’t comfortable with “frightening.” I’ve heard it said more than once that police work is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror. A little fear is what allows us to go home at the end of the shift sometimes.

The scary duty that I want to talk about this time has its basis in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, chapter 18, verses 1 through 6 to be precise. In this passage God tells Jeremiah to go down to a certain potter’s house and watch him making clay vessels. Jeremiah watched as the potter began to form some pot or bowl, and during the making he decided that it wasn’t coming out right. So he began to remold it into a different shape. The point of the passage is that God has a plan for each of our lives, but that our lives don’t always seem to turn out the way He would like to see them. There are lots of reasons for that. The chief reason is that He has given us a free will, a free moral agency. For a lot of us, if we were honest, we see our lives not turning out like we’d like them to be.

The good news is that God can change things. He, as presented in this passage, is very willing to remold us. The catch is…the Scariest Duty. We have to willingly place ourselves on “the potter’s wheel” and allow Him to change those things that need changing. This is equally true for someone who never has had a personal relationship with God and for someone who has walked with God for years. Remember what I said a bit ago? The fear of the unknown is a fear of what impact the resolution of the event will have on me physically and/or mentally: Will it mess with my “status quo”? A person may well come out the other side a changed individual.

Why is it so scary to turn our lives over completely to God? I would venture to say that, in part, it’s the fear of the unknown: we don’t know how it will turn out. Sure, I know that God always has my best interest at heart, but if I get up on that “wheel,” I lose control. I don’t get to say what I want to be. What if He sends me to….? What if He takes away my desire for…? What will my friends/family think? What if I don’t want do what He wants me to?

A police parallel might be: Dispatch sends you on a call. You go 10-23 (on scene), but something doesn’t feel quite right. Now you have to decide whether or not to get out of the car. What Dispatch hasn’t told you is that the Chief’s inside waiting to present you with an award and promotion.

The plain truth of the matter is that the closer we get to God, the more we learn to trust Him to get it right. And the more we trust Him, the less it matters how it turns out.

I’ve run out of time again. Drop me an email and we can talk more about it.

Until then: Blessings to you and yours.

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