October 6, 2010

Fire Prevention and the Glory of God

Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. 
My job is to prevent fires, to protect lives and property, and to figure out why fires happened so they can be prevented in the future. 
October (as many of you know if you have kids sporting shiny new plastic fire helmets) is Fire Prevention Month, and quite frankly it's kicking my butt a little.  I love talking to kids and grown-ups, especially about fire safety....but when the 13 hour days start to stack up and the event requests keep coming I often wonder what coloring books and shiny new plastic helmets have to do with the glory of God.
I hear stories of others who are feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, freeing captives, and sheltering the homeless and suddenly my color changing pencils and nifty powerpoints don't seem so meaningful.  Sure fire safety is an important message but I tend to ask God, "Are you sure you have me where you want me? Isn't there anything bigger I could be doing?"
This weekend I was blessed to be part of the honor guard at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. I stood as one of many, a sea of blue to welcome surviving family members of firefighters who have died on the line of duty this past year.  Shoulder to shoulder we stood telling wives, mothers, husbands, fathers, children and grandchildren that they were not alone and that their sacrifice was recognized. 
The babies in strollers were what struck me most as I stood at attention, squinting in the sun.  These children will grow-up knowing of but not knowing someone who had loved them because that someone's job had required the ultimate sacrifice.
As my heart broke for these families God spoke and this is when the pieces fell into place. These fatherless, these widows are why I do what I do.  By teaching people to be safe around fire and teaching them how to keep fires from occuring I am saving lives and families of both those I teach and the firefighters who protect them.  Every fire prevented is one time a firefighter does not have to put their life on the line.
And so, as I move through my week I know that in my weakness I rely on God's strength through the long days and by His grace I am able to give out coloring books and talk about smoke alarms to the glory of God.  Because that is what He has put before me to do.

And I ask all of you to be a hero by saving a hero, please be smart about fire safety and install smoke alarms with working batteries and have a family escape plan.

Joining with Emily and others as we search God's grace and practice what He has taught us to do at Imperfect Prose


  1. That reminds me that I need to check my escape ladder. It hasn't been out of the box for a long time. I know the batteries in my smoke detector are good, though.

  2. Heavens, girl--you give me chills! Now, if you can just help me figure out what I'm supposed to be doing to the glory of God...

  3. you and your team are my sons' heroes. and because of fire prevention month, i've been thinking on how to make our home safer (we have some free time tomorrow am... maybe a fire safety morning is in order...) thank you.

  4. my grandfather was a fireman...thank you for what you do...it does touch lives in many ways...

  5. i LOVE how you sought him, and how he answered you, and how you save lives faithfully, friend. so well written. so honest. a beautiful link.

  6. I love what you wrote, here. It is so easy to get caught up in dreams of "glory" for His glory - to get trapped by a narrow definition of what serving Him really means. And sometimes it means feeding the hungry in another country, and sometimes it means helping your co-worker who's having a really bad day, or empyting the trash can for your wife, or teaching fire safety to children so someone else can have their daddy home safe at night. The key here, as you wrote so eloquently, is to ask Him. To yield to His plan for you. We so often miss that. Thank you for what you do, thank you for what you wrote. Both are much needed.

  7. I know this isn't want you meant to say, and what you meant to say is pretty awesome, too...

    But what I'm thinking is that I so admire those people whose job in and of itself does not seem to be a ministry, but who are able to be ministry through being who they are no matter where they are or what they're doing.

  8. God shines through your work and your beautiful words...thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  9. i'm pregnant. you can't write a post like this and expect me NOT to get teary!!! b/cs i am... both in the imagined sight of all those heroes in blue sea, but also in the heart squeeze of asking Him for His will be done and hearing how He can be glorified. i'm all goose-bumpy

  10. "in my weakness I rely on God's strength"
    Amen. And how blessed we are that His strength is right there for us.

  11. Your posts tend to make me cry.
    This was very encouraging, especially to someone who is facing graduation and worried that maybe I won't be able to solve all of the world's problems when I'm a grownup. It's good that God doesn't ask us to do that.

  12. fantastic writing...
    follow your heart,
    let the light come in, sing.

    you are blessing to do what you love to do.
    enjoy the heat.