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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stories about 911

On April 4 a Maryland woman dialed 911 when her husband experienced breathing
problems.  She was transferred to a dispatcher whose job was to send an
ambulance to their home.

But when she was transferred, all she heard was silence.  Then she heard the
sound of someone snoring.  Her repeated "Hello? Hello?" failed to rouse the
sleepy dispatcher, and the original 911 operator came back on the line.  Hearing
the snoring, he asked the woman if that was her husband who was making the

For six minutes the snoring continued, even while the woman announced that her
husband was turning blue.  Finally he awoke, took down their address and called
for an ambulance to rush to their aid.  As it turns out, the husband is now
doing well and is back home.

In one sense it's understandable why this dispatcher was snoozing; he was in his
18th hour of a 24-hour shift.  But few would say that makes everything OK; when
we need help, we sometimes need it immediately.  Those who field emergency calls
for help need to somehow stay awake.

Nearly three millennia ago Elijah, a prophet of God, challenged the prophets of
the so-called god Baal to a duel.  All they had to do to prove that Baal was
powerful was to have him send fire from above and consume the sacrifice that had
been laid on an altar.  If Baal truly was a god, that should be no problem at

The cries of these prophets went unheeded, though.  No fire consumed their
sacrifice.  After a time Elijah began to mock them: "Cry aloud, for he is a god;
either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is
sleeping and must be awakened" (1 Kings 18:27).  But no fire ever came.  Baal
must have been a sound sleeper!  (Baal, of course, was no god at all.)

Elijah had no such problem.  Even after dousing the sacrifice with buckets of
water, God sent fire from heaven to consume the offering, along with the water,
the rocks and the dust (1 Kings 18:36-38).  No one mocked God that day.  He was
not snoozing, but responded to Elijah's cry for help.

Psalm 121 is a beautiful statement of God's readiness to come to His people's
aid: "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow
your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps
Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:2-4).

Sometimes we call upon God for help; sometimes we need that help urgently.  One
thing we can be assured of is that God won't be snoring on the other end.  A
profound statement on the nature of God is one that God made about Himself: "...
I am God, and not man" (Hosea 11:9).  We must never think that God is like us.
We slumber through others' crises; God won't.

In God we trust because of assurances like Psalm 18:3: "I will call upon the
Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."  He is
waiting for us to call.

Come to the light God offers!  Study His word, the Bible.  Worship Him in spirit
and truth (John 4:24).  Get in touch with us if you'd like to discuss these
ideas further.
Timothy D. Hall.

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