DAY 24: Firefighters, Police Officers, and Paramedics
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jer. 1:11-12 (NRSV)
This short passage from the prophet Jeremiah has long fascinated me. On the surface it barely seems coherent, but with a little digging it is a wonderful promise. In Hebrew, the root word for “almond” is the same and the root for “diligent” or “steadfast”, qualities God describes of His presence to His people. I frequently hear the sirens of our fire engines and ambulances at all hours of the day and night. They sound the same at midnight as they do at noon; at all hours, the response is the same. Men and women rush to our help in some of the worst situations of our lives. At every hour, they are diligent in their readiness to respond. They share with us the burdens of our tragedies, whether they be urgent medical situations or destruction by fire. Not only can we rely upon their skill and dedication, but we also rely on their presence. They are the ones who show up when no one else can or will. Our fire and emergency medical responders bear this weight day in and day out. It takes a toll on their bodies as well as their souls to maintain their diligence and to share our suffering. But, they remain steadfast in their commitment to arrive and help whenever we are in need. I would ask you to join me in my prayers for them in all they do.
Almighty God, you have shown your steadfastness to your people across countless generations. And, you have raised up steadfast servants to care for your people. Give courage and persistence to our fire and emergency medical personnel. Grant them strength to share our burdens with us in our moments of need. Restore them when they are tired and comfort them when they share our wounds. Enable them to embody your diligent care for your people so that we might know your steadfast presence through their hands. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.