Friday, December 19, 2008

A divine appointment . . . by patrol car.

My friend Dean Trune tells all of these astonishing stories about the divine appointments that God puts in his path. I've often wondered why I don't have more of those, or maybe I just am too dense to recognize them when they appear.

Last night I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had me right where he wanted me. As a volunteer chaplain for Lansing Police Department, I ride along with officers once a month (sometimes more). Yesterday I was riding with Officer Smith (I've changed the names here) when we received a call that a babysitter called 911. She had become overwhelmed, was holding a knife, and was threatening to hurt herself or the babies she was watching.

For the first time since I've been a chaplain we drove with lights and sirens. I stopped looking at the speedometer when it went north of 90 miles per hour. When we got to the townhouse, we were grateful to learn that the young woman had safely located the children to an upstairs bedroom, placed the knife in the kitchen sink, and was waiting for us to arrive.

As the officers talked with the babysitters, I went upstairs to play with the children. There was a little boy and a baby girl. The girl was crying and had a runny nose. She had spit up her spaghetti dinner all over her brother's mattress. I cleaned her up, puts some pants on her and gave her a teddy bear. The boy, who was three-years-old, was a lot of fun. Little Jonathon and I played with cars together. We read a book and rolled the cars back and forth on the hardwood floor.

After a while I took the children downstairs to watch some television. I asked the babysitter the little girl's name. (Little Jonathon couldn't pronounce it.) When the babysitter told me her unique name I realized why the little boy looked so familiar. Both of these children used to attend South Lansing Christian Church along with their parents. Their dad ran off about six months ago leaving mom to raise the two little ones alone. She moved a couple of times and our church lost track of them.

After I settled the little ones down to watch Bob the Builder I roamed around the townhouse. This three bedroom town house had no furniture. For the past six months, this family has been living with only a small dresser, a twin mattress and a baby-crib mattress. Aside from a television and a telephone, they have nothing else. Literally. Nothing else. No couches or chairs. No kitchen table. No end tables. No appliances. Nothing.

Now here is the thing that makes this such a divine appointment. Several months ago an apartment building around the corner from the church burned. Our church began collecting furniture to donate to people who had lost all their furnishings. With our pole building bursting with furniture we called the Red Cross to begin the distribution. The Red Cross told us that The Salvation Army had the distribution list. When we called The Salvation Army, they told us that the Red Cross had the list. The fact is, nobody had a list, and we had a pole barn full of furniture that we couldn't get rid of. And, we didn't know why.

Now I do. Sunday afternoon a team of deacons from South are loading up a trailer full of furniture and taking it to this family. Others are donating food. A Sunday school class is going to donate some funds that we can use to get some Christmas gifts (and maybe a tree) for the little ones.

All because I rode with a cop. At the exact time God wanted me to. Cool. Very cool.


mike waugh said...

That's tragic and awesome all at the same time. God is so cool.

Connie Lacy said...

Wow Frank this gives me cold chills. It is wonderful to see God at work in your life and the life of that family. "Divine Appointments"

Rod Bisher said...

This passage immediately came to mind:
James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."(NIV)
Thanks for your testimony and alertnes Frank. It reminds me of Paul's words to Philemon:
"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." (Philemon 1:7, NIV)

Soren said...

That rocks! Thanks for your ministry Frank.