The Great & Awesome Day
The mission of the law enforcement officer is a weary one. Coming out of the academy, piss and vinegar levels are maxed out. You’re ready to conquer the world. I, like every rookie thought I was going to take a bite out of crime. If they would have let me work longer hours for free, I probably would have.
But this feeling quickly faded as reality set in. I was routinely working 16 hour shifts “runnin and gunnin” in one of America’s most violent cities. I got into foot chases, fights, wrestled with armed persons, tackled drug dealers, chased stolen cars, everything a young cop craves. But like King Solomon, I quickly realized that it was all vanity.
No matter how hard I worked, no matter how many people I locked up, no matter how much drugs I took off the street (it wasn’t much), in the grand scheme of things, it made absolutely no difference. My efforts did nothing to stop crime. Shocker…
Most cops I talk to experience this at some point in their career. The question of, “why am I risking so much, why am I killing myself with stress and overexertion for no results?” These questions inevitably begin to consume you and eat at you. After wrestling with this question, I left police work altogether to pursue a career in full time ministry.
I was correct in that God was calling me into ministry; but I was quite wrong about where He planned for my ministry to take place. I wasn’t going to be behind a pulpit, I was back in a bulletproof vest, a few miles south of my original department, now wearing a different shade of blue.
The Lord humbled me greatly during my time in the city’s police department. I realized that I was nothing. My accomplishments were moot points, I effected no lasting change. But that wasn’t what the Lord was after. He wanted me back in the front lines per se, but now with a renewed focus of loving those who I encountered. My mission was still to fight crime, but I was now going to do that by bringing the light and love of Jesus Christ into the darkness.
I began praying with drug addicts as they were in handcuffs in my car, I referred families to local churches, I embraced the broken hearted, and bought food for the hungry. Typing this, I’m extremely convicted. I missed more opportunities than I could count to be bold and share Christ’s love. I thank God for including stories in the Bible of men like Peter. Peter denied Jesus when Jesus needed him most. But yet Jesus’s love for Peter never waivered. I was Peter, constantly repenting for my weak faith and boldness. But just like Peter, Jesus’s love for me never ceased!
My new mission as a police officer afforded me some really special memories. I haven’t driven crime down, but I know that the Lord has used me to change some people’s lives, not because of what I did, but what God did through me. Despite this, the work is still wearisome. Being surrounded by sin, death, and destruction takes a toll on you. No matter what I do, men still beat their wives, brothers still shoot their brothers, and kids are killed in car accidents. Because of this, we must keep our eyes fixed on “The Great and Awesome Day”.
Malachi 4:1-5 says: “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you, you fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
The day of the Lord’s return is both terrifying and wonderful. The evil and wickedness that we combat on a daily basis will be no more. For those of us who have been made righteous by Christ’s blood, we will go out leaping like calves on a beautiful spring day. We will be able to lay down our weapons and rejoice, for victory will be King Jesus’s forever and evermore.
Until that day, we continue to run the long race that we have been called to. I pray that you do not become weary; find your strength and rest in your King, and keep your eyes on the Great and Awesome Day.