Psalm 46:1-3 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
According to Dallas Fire-Rescue Captain, Charles Hyles, the day started out like any other.
He had to keep pushing his three children to get ready for school. Then, when they were dressed and fed, he dropped one of his kids off at the Italy, Texas, grade school and two more at the local high school. After that, he went to his uncle's store which was a hang-out for retired fire-fighters.
It was while Hyles was at the store the day dropped its mask of normalcy.
Right before 8 a.m. one of the store's employees arrived and reported there had been a shooting at the high school, and children were running all over the place. Fearing for the well-being of his two boys, Hyles got back in his truck and raced back to the school.
Entering the building, he came across a 15-year-old girl whose gunshot wounds were being treated by staff.
Kneeling over the wounded teen, he asked if there were any other casualties. He breathed a sigh of relief when he was told the girl was the only victim. At that moment, he knew his boys were safe. With that piece of information, Hyles devoted himself completely to caring for the girl.
Looking up at him, the unnamed girl said, "I don't want to die. Don't let me die."
Hyles gave her all the assurances he could. He stayed with her and got her on to the emergency helicopter. He gave her a kiss on the head and said he would see her at the hospital. It was his way of assuring her that she was going to pull through.
It took Hyles a while to get to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He reports, "I walked in the room, she started crying and said, 'You didn't let me die.' And I said, 'No, baby. God didn't let you die.'"
Hyles then added, "I didn't do anything different. There's over 1,800 firefighters in Dallas, (and an) ungodly amount of volunteer firefighters. Every one of them would've done the same thing. I'm not the hero. I'm just the piece of the puzzle that God put in place to do this."
There are, my friends, some powerful theological truths in those last two paragraphs. The first thing we ought to note is Hyles' recognition that the Lord is our real preserver.
How did Luther say it? The Lord "richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me."
God is in control. That is what Hyles said to the crying young girl. But there's more. Hyles also said, "I'm just the piece of the puzzle that God put in place to do this."
My friends, I wonder how many times the Lord places us into situations where we, like Hyles, are a "piece of the puzzle"? How many times does the Lord drop us into a location where we may be the only ones who can make a witness; the only ones who know the Savior and can tell of the wonders of His love? It may not be often, but I pray, when the time comes we will, like Hyles, be ready.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the right vision, the right attitude, and the right words to point people to the Savior who alone can make a saving difference in the souls of sinners. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Maria Guerrero on Jan 23, 2018 for NBC5 Dallas, on January 23, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written, click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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