Some of you may know that I spent just shy of 20 years working in a local emergency room. Some of you may also know that I’m a fairly large man. As you can imagine this often came in handy in the ER. Often times I was just called on to perform feats of strength. Usually helping to move heavy patients. However, there were a great many times when my size and strength were called upon to “deal with” someone who was getting a bit unruly. Sadly, having to wrestle and even restrain someone is sometimes required for their safety, as well as that of the staff and other patients and visitors. Looking back on those experiences, here are 3 things wrestling with drunks taught me about God.
1.) He’s got my back, even when I don’t know He’s there.
I spent a couple years working as the charge nurse in that ER. In those days we had a charge nurse and a co-charge nurse. My partner was named Angela. I remember this one shift we had a particular mouthy patient in bed 6. This bed happened to be near the main nurses station. So, Angel and I had a good view of all his antics. He was quite drunk and not happy about being there. For his own safety, we had a responsible for doing what we could to keep him there until he sobered up.
For at least the third time this man had wondered out of his room and into the passageway. Angela was calmly talking to him, trying to convince him to go back into his room. He continued to yell and cuss, and Angela remained calm. I was very impressed. Then, suddenly, after a few minutes of this he says, “Well, I guess I better go back into my room.” Then he turned around and did just that.
A very shocked and confused watched as he went back to his bed, then she turned around to walk away… and nearly ran into me. You see, what she didn’t know was that I had seen her talking with this man and had walked up behind her. I didn’t say a word, or lay a finger on the patient. I just stood there with my arms folded looking mean and scary.
It’s like that with God. We don’t always know that He is there, but He is. He’s got our backs.
2.) I can be bold when I know that He is there.
As I said, I was often called on to help others deal with unruly patients. As a younger man, I would usually just rush in and take over the experience. Over time I learned that that might not be the best way to handle it. You see, I learned that all I really needed to do was be present. Quite often I would just stand in the doorway… looking mean and scary. I did quite a bit of looking mean and scary. With my face that comes pretty easy.
What I found was that my presence allowed the other nurse to be more bold, because she knew I was there and had her back. She could do what she needed to do because she knew that if I needed to I would step in. The patient usually also knew that I was there to “step in” if I had to.
It’s like that with God. He’s always there. Sometimes we forget. But, if we will remember that He is there, we can be much more bold.
3.) He will take action when the time comes.
While me standing in the doorway often allowed the other nurse to do what they needed to do without having to get physical with the patient, it didn’t always work out that way. There were many times that I had to take action. Some might dispute this, but it really was for the safety of the patient, as well as the staff and others in the ER. In these cases, I would stand back and observe… looking mean and scary, of course… THEN when the time came, I would come in and take action. In that moment I would do what I had to do to control the situation.
It’s like that with God. He sees our struggles, and when the time is right, He will step in and take action.
In the Mark 6:45-52 we see this. Verse 45 says, “He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him…” While they were out there on the boat, a violent storm came. To this very day, these sorts of sudden storms are common on this body of water. Verse 48 says, “He saw them being battered as they rowed because the wind was against them.” He saw their struggles. Then in verse 51 He climbed into the boat with them and the wind ceased.
Their journey wasn’t without struggle and I sure they would have liked for Him to do the whole control the weather thing much sooner. But, He’s God, we are not. So, we have to remember that He sees our difficulties and when the time is right He will step in.
Many of my coworkers quickly came to understand that I was there for them, even when they didn’t know it. I was constantly watching and listening for situations that might require me to at least be visible and to step in when needed.
It’s kinda like that with God. Remember that He has your back, even when you can’t see Him. You can be bold, when you remember that He is there. He WILL step in when the time comes.Matt Norman
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