I took part in a discussion last week that I can’t seem to get out of my head. The discussion was about emergency readiness. Being a Floridian, I immediately associate emergency readiness with hurricanes and other natural disasters. But after spending a week in a city rocked by not only the Boston Marathon bombing last year, but relatively close to the site of 9/11 and the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, emergency readiness has taken on an entirely different meaning for me.
No longer are schools, hospitals and federal establishments preparing for only natural disasters but now emergency readiness encompasses massive acts of violence. Did you know elementary schools are conducting ‘active shooter drills’ to teach children as young as 5 years old how to recognize the sound of gunfire? For example, children are taught if they are in the bathroom and hear this sound [insert sound of gunfire], they are to pull their legs up, be really quiet and stay still until a teacher comes to get them. School administrators are surveying classrooms for the least visible location in the room from the door to serve as a hiding spot in the event one is needed. Teachers have a stash of lollipops, called Lockdown Lollipops, to use in the event there is an active shooter and children are scared and unable to be quiet. Lockdown Lollipops...seriously? Active shooter drills? What happen to good ol' fire drills, ya know...stop, drop and roll? What kind of world are we living in? Reflecting on several discussions I had with friends still rocked by the marathon shooting...my heart wanted to cry out:
“O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city – the city that bears your name – lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help but because of your mercy. 19 O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.”
If the conversation wasn’t bad enough, the discussion shifted from school emergency readiness to the hospital setting. We discussed the high probability of an active shooter situation arising in a hospital setting and the particular vulnerability around a pediatric hospital. As we talked, I found myself thinking about my office and where might be the best hiding place, in the event I might need one.
This conversation has left a fair amount sorrow in my heart for the world we live in. Children should have to worry about not falling off the monkey bars, not how to hide from the lunatic on a massive shooting spree. As I think about all of the horrible things our world has experienced in my lifetime, I go back to a few verses that remind me one day there will be joy.
1 Corinthians 4: 15-18
All of these things are for your benefit. And as God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now, rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
The troubles in this world…the bombing, the terrorism, the lost lives, the pain, the suffering, the Lockdown Lollipops…will come to an end and there will be joy.
Monkey bars, lollipops, and joy,
Just a few reflections about everything God is teaching me in this life...a journey deeper into His purpose for my life.