I wanted share with you all just how powerful these past three years have been for me. I Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me in my attempt to explain my feelings.
So many things that have occurred to me and around me in the past that didn’t make sense, came to complete clarity during this course. To give you just one example:
I was a police officer in a major city on the east coast for fifteen years. I worked one of the deadliest, crime ridden ghetto districts on the eastern seaboard.
I must admit that during that time, when things really got rough, I questioned the existence of God. Being a cop I only saw people at their worse. Everyone was a crook until they proved otherwise.
I’ll never forget the case that turned it all around for me, the case that showed me that there indeed is a God but why He did what He did for me I didn’t and thought that I never would understand...
I was working the day shift on the 24th of December when I received a fire call. I knew the area where it was located and knew that it was a vacant house. I thought I would go there, direct traffic around the fire scene, write a small report, then go home and get ready for Christmas.
Things were going pretty much as I thought they would except for the size of the crowd. People and traffic were everywhere, all the streets were blocked in every direction. I still thought it would be a quick fire and everything would go back to normal.
I was standing near a fire truck when suddenly a shot rang out. All of us at that fire scene had been conditioned since the Baltimore Riots to do just two things at the sound of gunfire and that was to dive to the ground and Pray.
When I dove it was right into the gutter where the water was draining from the fire hoses. Firemen jumped off ladders, dove under fire trucks and hid in the burning house. After what seemed like an eternity, I could hear people screaming and looked up to see what was going on. I saw a large crowd standing on the corner and in their mist, lay a body on the ground.
I ran to the corner and found a very young male laying, unconscious, on the sidewalk. He was wearing a heavy jacket which kept me from seeing if there were any injuries. I unzipped the jacket, ripped open his shirt and found a small bullet hole right in the center of his chest. I had been a cop for a long time and knew what this meant but I wasn’t going to let this boy go without a fight...so I started CPR.
I, like everyone else, dislike cases where children are involved, but I really detested them because they tend stay on my mind for a long time.
Inside, I wasn’t just Praying to God, I was screaming at Him, “Why, why Lord did you do this to me? You know I can’t handle this sort of a case! Why didn’t You put someone here that can handle this...why me?!
Then my Prayers turned to: “Please help me get through this Lord, because I know that I can’t get through this alone.”
I continued CPR in the back of a squad car until we got to the hospital. The child was pronounced dead on arrival. I left the trauma room and walked around repeating that Prayer but now with a new twist: “If only You would have sent someone else to handle this maybe this child would have lived, but no You had to send me, half a basket case, to handle this, the most important thing a man can do, save a human life, and I failed.
I was in the waiting room trying to get information together for my report as I observed the boy’s father, who was in a state of shock, say mostly to himself: “What am I going to do with his bike, I just got him a bike for Christmas, what am I going to do with his bike?
I had to get away. I couldn’t handle anymore. I went into the men’s room and locked the door. I went to the sink and looked down at my hands they were covered with blood. I took a deep breath and looked in the mirror.
I didn’t recognize the man staring back at me. My uniform was caked with mud and dirt and I was soaked to the skin, I had lost my hat and eyes were bloodshot, I truly didn’t know me anymore.
I looked in that mirror and vowed to turn my life around, to start going to Church, and to try and make some sense out of what just happened.
I went to Church that Christmas morning and every Sunday after. I met a young Priest who helped me to understand that our God loves everyone, even a guy like me who not long before questioned the existence of our Savior.
Then one Saturday during this course I listened as Dr. Bobertz explained how Genesis 1.1 the creation, Genesis 6.5 the flood, Matthew 8.23 the calming of the sea, were all examples of God’s new beginning for mankind.
He explained that in these examples the water was Chaos and with Christ chaos can be calmed and there will be a new beginning for those who believed in Him.
I had tears in my eyes as I remembered that little boy and my awakening in that men’s room. Now I know what I was looking at in that mirror...it was pure chaos.
I went from chaos to a new beginning. I realize now that there was nothing I could have done for that little boy who died, so very long ago.
In 2001 one year before I retired I delivered a baby girl in the Stearns County jail. She had the cord wrapped so tight around her throat that she almost died. We untied the knot in the cord and she began to cry. I thanked God for letting me a part of her birth.
I believe that He was saying to me...”Forget all the tragedies that you have seen, and if you must remember your police years...remember this baby.”
I would like to close with a passage from the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:
“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation, behold new things have come!”