Years ago, I was assigned to cover a school bus accident for the newspaper.
I was amazed at how composed the local firefighters were as they got students off the bus and removed a man from a van that had run into the back of it.
Days later, I asked Capt. Jamie Meyer how he and the other men managed to stay so calm.
He told me that they train all the time for emergencies and when a situation arises, they fall back on that training.
A couple years later I had my own emergency when my husband, Chuck, coded in a hospital intensive care unit.
I was outside his hospital room when that happened, but I saw the blue and white lights flashing above his doorway and doctors and nurses running down the hall.
When that occurred, I immediately dropped to my knees and started praying.
And I found myself praying like kings from the Old Testament did when they faced enemy armies.
Those Godly kings were so smart in the way they prayed.
They’d start out by praising God and recounting the great things he’d already done for them.
It’s important to praise God, but did he really need a reminder of all the wonderful things he’d done?
Maybe not, but perhaps those kings and their people needed a reminder.
After they praised the Lord, the kings would tell God about their problem.
Then they would ask for help.
That must have been in my mind as I prayed — along with something else.
I remember someone telling me that “When you pray the Scriptures, you’re praying the heart of God.”
So I started praying out loud: “Lord is anything too hard for you? Nothing is impossible for you. Please help my husband.”
I began praying Bible verses, like those from Psalms 121: “I lift my eyes up to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth ….”
I tried to pray a little bit of Isaiah 43, but all I could remember was “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned….”
My eyes were closed and I didn’t see the young man who took my hands and told me that I would need to sit down. He got me into a chair. There was a glass of water nearby and the hospital chaplain took me into a small room where I prayed some more.
Sometime later, I wondered why I didn’t run into Chuck’s room after he started coding.
Why did I drop to my knees — right where I was — and pray?
For one thing, I believe the Holy Spirit was at work helping and guiding me.
But kind of like those firefighters — could it have been that I just fell back on my training?
I think of the wonderful people who’ve prayed with me throughout the years at my church and the opportunities I’ve had to attend Bible studies and pray with other people.
I’ve heard so many incredible stories from other Christians, who’ve talked about how God has seen them through rough times. I’ve listened to years of great sermons.
Could it have been that all those experiences were just part of God’s training — preparing me for what was ahead?
I don’t think we need to fear the future.
Yes, I know. That’s easier read than done.
But if I’ve learned anything in the last six years it is that God is faithful.
It’s true that terrible, unfair things can happen to very good people.
Yet I also know God can get us through tough times and give us hope. I’ve seen him bring good out of very bad situations.
And I know he doesn’t want us to be afraid. Throughout Scripture, God tells people not to fear.
The Bible story I love reading the most occurs when Christ’s disciples are in a boat at night when they see a figure walking toward them on the water.
Not realizing it’s Jesus on the water, the men cry out in fear, because they think they’re seeing a ghost.
Immediately, Jesus says, “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter asks to come out on the water and Jesus allows him to do so. But when Peter sees the wind, he starts to sink.
Right away, he cries out to Jesus — who catches Peter and gets him back into the boat.
That had to be some incredible training for disciples who would later go on and spread the life-altering, world-changing Gospel of Christ.
Even today, our Lord will call us to get out of our safe little boats and traverse some previously un-walked waters.
He still catches those of us who doubt and falter and can help us from sinking into the dark waters of despair.
And he can get us back in our boats and take us to an entirely different shore.
Our Lord is a master when it comes to teaching and training.
Don’t believe me?
Look at his resume — the Bible — which is filled with all sorts of teachable moments and training sessions, times when God molded and shaped his children into the servants he wanted them to be.
I’m glad that our firefighters get the training they need to help calm people and save lives.
And I’m very grateful for the “training” I’ve received throughout the years from the Lord and at my church and through the Scriptures. God speaks to us through his word to give us direction, correction and comfort. As the Scriptures say, he is our ever-present help in times of trouble.
So what were those verses in Isaiah, chapter 43, which I was trying to pray when my husband coded?
They’re Scriptures I first heard in Omaha when a blind woman with cancer got up to speak at a church service. She shared these priceless verses:
“…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you I have summoned you by name you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior ….”
And the best trainer we could ever have.