[The following is a true story, no names have been changed because nobody is innocent!]
Take heart faithful Reader, I haven’t forsaken my daily devotional. I’ve still read my passages today. I’m just going to write a bit differently today.
First a bit of back story so that my recent experience will make sense. As I’ve written in the past, I’m a fireman. My work schedule is 24 hours at the station and 48 hours off duty. That schedule requires that three separate 24 hour shifts, A, B, and C, are needed to give uninterrupted service to the citizens. I’m in charge of the C shift. Our station is new, just over one year old. Our city spent a lot of money to build and equip our facility. One of the large expenses was a new fescue sod lawn…in the heat, lots of water and cut it long to keep it alive.
At the station different maintenance tasks are assigned to days of the week. When you work any particular day you are responsible to complete those assigned tasks. Our station’s lawn day is every Thursday. Allow me to cut to the chase. Three weeks before last Thursday, one of my guys cut the lawn too short. I mean real short, and the Captain that works after my shift felt compelled to talk to me about it. He was right, we could have damaged a very expensive investment that the citizens of our town had made. At that time I assured him that it would not happen again and I talked to my guys to ensure proper lawn maintenance in the future. Well, this last week we worked Thursday and it was our turn to mow again. I had a different guy ride the mower and the yard looked fantastic when the guys were finished. Friday morning when the offended Captain arrived to let me go home he proceeded to “take me to the woodshed.” He said when he was arriving at work he looked and saw that the yard appeared to be cut at the proper length and he was very pleased. When he entered the building he went directly to the lawnmower to confirm the setting…this behavior tells me he was itching for a fight. He saw that the mower was not set where he wanted it to be set so he exploded and proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t much good for anything, [note here: my men could have mowed at the proper height and moved the deck when cleaning the equipment but that wasn’t anything he would consider]. I’m sure that if it were within his power, I wouldn’t have a job, let alone be the boss of a shift of firefighters. Now my natural inclination is to bristle up and fight back to defend my honor, but a few years back something special happened to me that makes me want to fight against my natural inclination–I met and accepted Christ. It took a bit of talking to calm him down, but I did and as I was leaving that day we shook hands and he told me that the matter was ended. When I got home I kept it to myself and only asked Laurie to pray for me to release something that had happened at work.
Segue to Sunday morning, Father’s Day. When I was relieving the B-shift Captain he proceeded to tease me as if he were also mad at me about the lawn. That’s typical fireman mentality, kick a guy when he’s down. Rest assured, he was just having some fun at my expense. Remember, a fire station and boy’s camp are pretty much the same thing, the only difference is the siren. He and I talked and he tried to help me understand the offended man’s mode of operation. We decided that some guys are just hard to figure out and I needed to just do the best job that I can do and keep plugging along. Later that morning I talked to my guys about what had happened. I told them that we would continue to try to operate above pettiness and we would not seek any “pay-back.” I explained to them that I expected us to behave better than we get because that’s what my Lord expects. I have to tell you I’m very proud of my men, they are top notch and they do great work. They understood my position and agreed that we had to pick our battles…grass length was not worthy of any further concern by them, I love these guys!
After our exercise time, our breakfast, and some school, at about 11:00 AM, we all went to our separate bunkrooms to shower up and get ready for the day. When I opened my locked door, on the floor, as if slid under from the outside was a business card. None of the other guys had one under their door. When I picked up the card and read it I was stunned. It was a tract from a local church. On one side was the name of the church. On the opposite side was a passage, [insert drumroll here], it read “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17 & 18 NIV I didn’t know what to say or think, like I said I was stunned. I told Laurie the story and she just smiled her sweet smile at me. She said I’ll never know the “messenger” but the message was sent directly from the Lord. No other explanation works. You feel free to believe as you wish but I truly believe that God spoke specifically to me and he sent his business card to do it. This whole thing has been a bit surreal, from the stupidity and childishness of the core problem to my God reassuring me via cardstock. No matter, I’ll take whatever I can get as long as my Lord reassures me and tells me in essence, “well done, good and faithful servant!”
Prayer: Father, thank you for the encouragement and reassurance that I’m following your will. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I love you and I thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen