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Another Kind of Hero; Another 9/11


With the events of these last few weeks, we've seen first hand how unlikely people can be placed into extraordinary circumstances. Most of the time when someone is asked who their hero is, they mention a great athlete or someone who has done something extraordinary. The aftermath of the tragedy of 9/11/2001, the aftermath of Harvey on 8/24/2017, Irma on 9/11/2017 and tragedies and crisis in between, has shown that heroes can be ordinary people that do ordinary work in an extraordinary way. From those who worked fervently to clear away the rubble of the World Trade Center or rebuild the Pentagon, and those who are now digging through the rubble in the Gulf region, the Caribbean, and in Florida--we've seen another kind of hero.

Our first responders and public safety organizations have been on the forefront, running into, not out of the storms, have inspired and enabled others to face tragedy and loss.

In the time of Nehemiah, there were others that were similar heroes. The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed because of a Babylonian invasion seventy years before. Now God was calling on His people to rebuild His holy city. Though Nehemiah had the vision, ordinary people were needed to carry out this task! In Nehemiah 3, you will see a long listing of names of those who worked on the wall and what they did. This might seem to some a boring chapter. Why include all of these names? The reason is simple: Whenever we do something for God we are always written in His Book.

As chaplains we are privileged to serve and assist first responders in law enforcement, fire service, ems and public safety divisions who are doing their work. Often they work unseen, without thanks and are often met with criticism, not thanks. As a chaplain, responder or ordinary citizen, we are set apart when we see a need and meet it. We are available.

Many times what keeps chaplains from offering ourselves for greater service is the false belief that we might "be in the way" or have "nothing to offer". We may not be a gifted speaker, or feel we have difficulty connecting with certain types of people. Nothing is farther from the truth! As disasters clear, often your ministry may be one of showing up , rolling up your sleeves and being present. A ministry of presence may be all that is needed.

Our organizations wisely may want us to be at the ready, but out of harm's way, But in these next few weeks, after the fury and adrenaline dies from the hyper-vigilant state our law enforcement, fire service, ems call center personnel, ems responders and their leadership have endured, we are needed more.

In Nehemiah, Baruch was a mason and bricklayer and he was very valuable in doing God’s work. Whatever talent you have is valuable when you are willing to give of yourself to do God’s work! Beyond being available, we should also be willing to give of ourselves. Baruch served with the gifts he had.

We can use whatever gift we have to serve others and faithfully administer God’s grace in its various forms. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Often our perception leads us to feel we're an annoyance or just a figure-head in the agencies we serve. Rest assured. In time of trouble, you are needed.

Those who built the wall in Jerusalem worked on the sections where they lived. There are hurting people everywhere, not just in areas caught by the eye wall of the storms. That "cone of uncertainty" is a waffle cone- it swings back around and come up when and where it is not expected. In your organizations there are people who desperately need to be touched by His love! What can you do to help rebuild where you serve? He has armed us for service and we will gain strength for the journey. When we use what He has given us, He gives us more. Prayers to all of the "other kind of heroes". May we be that "other kind" today.

Blessings, Chaplain Kathy Thompson

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