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When you hear sirens…worry.

Parents are always told not to worry when their children are out and they hear sirens. They say, “We are told not to worry because we can’t add an inch to our stature by worrying” (Matthew 6:27). And what are the chances that the siren you hear has anything to do with your children?

I don’t remember what our sixteen year old son had done, but he was grounded. We were going out to a Friday night church activity and gave him strict orders to not leave the house.

The activity was a progressive dinner for couples in our church. We would be having the appetizer at one house, the salad at the second, the main course at the third and so forth. The intent was to get to know one another. It so happens that a new couple in our church, only there a few weeks, was carpooling with my wife and I and we were looking forward to getting to know them.

We all met at church and then set off for the first house in different cars. We were enjoying our first course when an emergency vehicle with lights-flashing and siren-blaring, sped by the house.

Someone commented, “I wonder what that is all about?” We all went back to our appetizer.

Soon another official vehicle screamed by; then another, then another. Then a firetruck flashed and sounded its siren as it raced by.

Several commented, “Sounds like something serious is going on.”

We went back to our socializing, finished our appetizer and piled into our cars to go to the next course of the meal. The other cars were going to be following me so when I pulled up to the main street down from the house we had just left, I turned onto it rather than taking a shortcut through town to the next house. That way those following me would be less apt to get lost on the side streets.

When I came over a knoll in the road we could see what seemed to be our city’s entire emergency vehicle fleet and every police car in town parked on the street with their lights flashing.

The traffic was congested from all the confusion so we slowed down. As we got closer to what appeared to be a serious accident, we noticed that one of the vehicles involved looked similar to our second vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee. As our car crept closer to the accident we could see that the Jeep looked very much like ours.

The thought crossed my mind, it couldn’t be ours though. Our son is confined to our house and the car is tucked safely in our garage.

As we pulled up adjacent to the Jeep I looked directly into the driver’s seat and shouted, “That’s our son.”

I pulled our car to the side of the road, burst from the driver’s door and rushed to the scene of the accident. Police tried to stop me but I demanded, “That is our son driving the Jeep.” My wife was right behind me and no police officer was going to stop Shirley!

That was the end of our progressive dinner…at least for us. When we found out that our son was okay, the couple in our car transferred to another and the dinner went on without us.

When the dust cleared we found that as soon as we exited the house that night to go to our church party, our son located a set of Jeep keys and headed off for his own Friday night event.

“After all,” He reasoned, “I’ll just be home before they return and they’ll never know.”

He picked up seven friends and three of them piled into the back compartment of the vehicle. When our son tried to zip across the street where the accident would occur, a truck clipped the rear end of our Jeep causing the back hatch to fling open and hurl the three passengers inside onto the highway. There were some serious injuries, but thank God everyone survived.

Many lessons were learned, by our son, his passengers and us as parents.

But one of the lessons we learned had to do with worry. We learned that when you hear sirens, maybe you should begin to be concerned after all. Maybe that concern is a prompting from God. Maybe you should PRAY.

We have to place our children into the hands of the Lord. God’s instructions aren’t to worry…but to pray, and we have found ourselves praying much for our children. More than ever parents…pray for your children!

To this day when we hear a siren, even though our children are adults living responsibly on their own in another state; we ponder where they might be and whether or not they are safe. I think it stems from a minor case of post-traumatic stress that we experienced that night. And we still keep praying. Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “rejoice always” but goes on to say “pray continually”.

And just in case you were wondering…the new couple in our car that night never did come back to church. I think we traumatized them as well. That’s life with the Schimels!

Praying for you and YOUR children,

Pastor Chris

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