“No—not again!” I was driving home from leading worship services at my church when I heard about another police shooting, this one in Baton Rouge…
I had just returned from Dallas the night before and was exhausted from back-to-back deployments—first to Orlando and then to Dallas—but after a moment’s hesitation about heading out on a third deployment the decision was obvious. How could we not answer the call of God and respond at such a time? I’ve spent a professional lifetime devoted to ministry “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), and now was the time to move. I was on a plane to Baton Rouge the following day.
Dallas and Baton Rouge are grim reminders of “such a time as this.” The seemingly endless memorials and services for officers were a somber backdrop to the traumatized human faces I saw—wounded cops and families of the fallen. Real people. Victims, all of them, undeserving of the pain they suffered at the hands of evil perpetrators. Good officers, performing an increasingly difficult task in a world of growing intolerance toward proper authority—human or divine.
The images of such a time as this—the faces in particular—remain powerful and painful. I see the tearful face of a burly officer who quietly cried on my shoulder about the loss of his buddies. I see the drawn faces of family members at the hospital as they tried to wrap their heads around the horror. I see the revulsion of an officer who walked me through a shooter’s demonic stalking of officers. I see the helpless anger of officers over the inability or unwillingness of others to distinguish between good and evil, action and intent, victim and perpetrator. I see the SWAT sniper perched on the church roof providing overwatch for the funeral below; he returns my thumbs-up. I see officers on a quick reaction team cocked and locked, ready to respond if violence threatens the mourners at a vigil—no time for them to grieve just yet. I see an officer’s face as he tells me about pulling his dying friend from the line of fire.
The images from such a time as this look more like war scenes than police work. Maybe they look that way because we are at war. Maybe it’s time for us to see these scenes for what they truly are. Maybe it’s time for us to choose to be on the Lord’s side (Exodus 32:26, Joshua 24:15), no matter what.
Our QRT team shared God’s comforting Word when appropriate, prayed with those who grieved, and encouraged those who struggled. Mostly we listened. Mainly our team was simply there. Our presence never seemed enough for the need, but it helped. But our proclamation—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—is always enough for such a time as this!
In the future we will continue to share with you the news and the needs of such a time as this. Thanks for your partnership!