Thursday, November 3, 2016
"I've Got This Covered"
When our phone rang at 4:40 on Wednesday morning, I said a quick groggy prayer while fumbling to answer. As a pastor and family, we have received more than our share of middle of the night phone calls. Those years are really behind us now, so first on my mind is the family.
This time when I picked up the phone, it was our son Matt. His first words were, "I'm okay". This is not the first call we have received in the wee hours nor the first time he has started the conversation saying, "I'm okay." Matt is a police officer in a metropolitan area and he puts his life on the line more often than I want to know. Matt did not want us waking up to the news that 2 officers had been ambushed and killed within 20 minutes and 2 miles of each other while in their squad cars. All officers were called in and on high alert.
"We are on it, Matt." was my reply. Because we are a praying family. I responded with my usual words of declaration as a prayer, hung up the phone and we began to pray. Holding hands in bed we prayed with urgency for Matt, his good friends Steve and Michele......and all other officers now in harm's way. We prayed for the families who were waiting to hear who had died that early morning at the hands of a madman. We prayed, we spoke to the "mountain", we declared truth of scriptures and we prayed in our prayer languages when we were not sure what else to pray. We prayed and then we went back to sleep knowing that the visual umbrella over the city I saw while praying was God telling us, "I've got this covered!"
Yet.....still I had to choose to stay calm. I had been having vivid, negative dreams and in one recently Matt was very sick and dying. This is not the first time I have drempt of him (or our other kids) dying. I am not one to have pleasant dreams! The very first time was when he was in 6th grade and it was so vivid and felt so real that I hid the shirt he had on in the dream. I confess, I lied and told him I lost it because every time he wore it my stomach tightened up with fear. Well, I cannot hide his uniform now. He wears it proudly and serves his city. He truly does put his life on the line.
Since Matt is all grown up with teens of his own, (how hard is it for his family?) I know I can no longer make the worry go away by hiding his clothes like I did when he was 12, I can make a better choice. I can pray, trusting that he is in God's hands. I can rest in knowing our son is a good, smart cop. I can remember he loves the Lord and he is His child. He is fulfilling his calling and even though we have seen the years wear heavy on him, we keep surrendering him to our God, trusting His plan and purpose for Matt's life.
I expect we have prayed and surrendered all our children to God at different times for different reasons. One battling addiction, one to heart failure, one to violent choices, all of them when moving forward from our home into the world. As parents we never stop wanting to keep our children safe. Never. We love them so much we want to protect them from the world....but we cannot. We can only remember that God loves them even more than we do.
That is why when the phone rings at 4:40 in the morning, we take a deep breath, say a quick prayer and answer, declaring with our actions that God holds our loved ones in the palm of His hands at all times and in all circumstances and remembering that umbrella......and knowing God is saying..."I've got this covered."