I walk through the cut fence, step over debris scattered everywhere from the crumpled car ahead. There’s this pile of coats, and a little bandaged face protruding from beneath them. The firefighter glances up at me approaching, lying on the cold ground as he is, and with short sleeves even in the cutting wind and drizzle. He gave his coat to cover this little one who’s cervical spine he’s been holding for a good 45 minutes.
“This is Jimmy, he’s four years old*...” He runs down the litany of injuries and past medical history.
“Jimmy? How are you buddy?” My heart sinks as I look at the face, nearly colorless from shock. Triaged to critical condition. Lacerations to the head, neck injuries, in and out of consciousness.
Oh dear God, please...
I don’t have mind to finish the prayer. Why does this world have to be so full of this awful tragedy, in a moments notice? Why does innocence like this lying on the ground before me have to know pain?
“Talk to me, Jimmy. What do you like?” From somewhere deep down the child’s face stirs, winces. Eyelids press, and his mouth opens, revealing two rows of tiny, perfect teeth. The sight squeezes my heart. Everything in me begs for him not to die. Not this child. Not today...
He talks to us, but barely. And as he talks we move, rapid and automatic. Within moments that firefighter and my brother are following me back across the damp, uneven earth, carrying the tiny form now packaged up and immobilized.
We get in the back of the rig. It feels like a sauna, heat blasting out of every vent. But that heat works wonders behind my back as I push through the cabinet for the pedi blood pressure cuff...
“I can open both my eyes!” Wonder and relief ring out in the little voice, sweetest music to my ears. I turn around, and those two little chocolate eyes are open, tracking me. I bend over him, smile down. His little hand reaches up. “That’s wonderful, Jimmy.” You don’t know how wonderful...
When we hand him off later, and I watch his little form being carried away, my heart sighs relief and satisfaction. You know what, I do love this work. I have plenty hope he’ll see his next birthday. And please God, many more after that...
And he’s carried out of my life, as quickly as he came in.
Later, I walk in the cutting cold, tired, aching, emotionally exhausted. My legs cramp so sometimes I can scarcely stand. My list is unaccomplished. And this day seems entirely gone wrong.
I feel like that little tyke we picked up this morning, that’s what. Cut to the head, cut to the heart. Tumbled around and flung to the ground. Down on this cold world and wind whipping over my soul and why does this have to be this way?
And worst! I know enough to know better than all this. The provision is there. There’s no reason to live less than triumphant Christianity. I know it. I’ve experienced it. So I should know better than to let the circumstances of a day tumble me like this. I know better than to be here.
I feel half ashamed to lift my eyes to my Rescuer. How is it that You have patience to come to save me... Over, and over, and over? Lord... have mercy on me...
His gentle whisper arrests my attention.
Don’t you know, child - I gladly come in the cold and the rain to hold you? Don’t you know I gladly take off my robes and put them on you, to protect you from a tragic world? Don’t you know your pain squeezes my heart, and in the depths of My heart I intercede for you - “Father, not this child. Not today”? Don’t you know I carry you, across damp and broken earth, to bring you to safety? Don’t you know that your voice, speaking to Me, is music to my ears, that your hand reaching for Me is wonderful - you don’t know how wonderful? Don’t you know that the hope of your eternal life is utmost satisfaction for Me?
And don’t you know why? Because I do love this work...
I see it. I know how that feels.
And I let Him come.
Know this: your God loves to rescue.
And if you love His happiness, never deny Him the opportunity.
*Not his real name or age.