The Gift of Work

In honor of Labor Day, I wanted to write about my husband Rich, and his work as an on-call firefighter and a first responder.

Last September, Rich responded to a fire, and when he was on the second floor moving to push out an air conditioner that was thought to be the start of the fire, he fell through the floor with one leg, and caught his fall with the other knee, severely injuring that knee.

Rich has not been able to work all year.  Finally, after surgery and physically therapy and exercising his knee consistently and faithfully—Rich has received the ok of his doctors to return to work!!

What a blessing!!  One for which we are so grateful!! 

24 years ago, Rich saw that the City was looking for more on-call firefighters.  He applied, went through the hiring process and was hired!!  I think it was the fulfillment of a dream for him to be a firefighter.  He loves it!  He is an action-oriented guy, and he loves to help people, and firefighting and being a first responder allows him to do what he was designed and created to do. 

I admit that it has not been an easy road for us. Rich is on call, 24/7– some weeks, the pager goes off in the middle of the night, on almost a nightly basis.  Sometimes the pager goes off when we are sitting down for dinner, and Rich won’t be able to eat for hours and hours.

There is also a concern that each time Rich leaves to fight a fire, it could be the last time I see him.  (Since our son Sean died, we have realized that this is true for all of us, not just those in a dangerous job.)

Rich and the other firefighters and their families make huge sacrifices for them to serve their communities.   In the past when Rich was injured in a fire, (for example, once a ceiling fell on him, breaking vertebrae in his neck)– he was given workman’s comp until he was healed and could return as a firefighter, (and also to his second job as a builder/carpenter.)  This is what Rich was told would happen when he was hired to be a firefighter.

However, this past year, that didn’t happen.  The insurance company wanted the City to do the same thing with the part-time guys that they do with the full-time guys.  The full-time guys go on light duty, instead of going on worker’s comp. They get all their regular hours, making the same amount of money they usually make.  The insurance company that the City uses, said to do that to the part time guys, but only at their part time hours.  Therefore, guys like my husband who are self-employed, and can’t return to their normal jobs, are put at risk of losing everything, by this practice.

One of the things Rich told me over and over this past year, when I would start getting anxious about the future, is, “God is the One who takes care of us, not the Fire Department.  God is the One who has our back.”

One of the verses we have repeated to each other over the years is Matthew 6:25-34: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  ….. So, don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? ….. your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.  So, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

When I first saw the movie, “Jesus”, I was struck when I heard these words.  I thought—You really must be God to tell us humans not to worry about food, life, clothing—we are all so worried.  You really do view these things from a completely different perspective!!

I am so grateful for this year, and for all the years when God was faithful to teach us these lessons from His perspective.  Over and over again, He has shown us, He can be trusted.  He will take care of us.  He will provide for us.    We don’t need to worry about money, or clothing, or shelter.  He will take care of us.

When my children were young, I read them a book about George Mueller, (1805-1898) a man who was a Pastor in England.  People were very poor. They worked 7 days a week, just to exist.  They didn’t have time to go to church on Sunday.  Pastor Muller wanted to teach the people that God would take care of them, if they stepped out in faith, in even a small way—God would meet them.  Pastor Muller started orphanages, to demonstrate how God takes care of His people.  In his lifetime, he built 5 orphanages, caring for over 10,000 orphans.  He wrote down all the needs of the orphans and waited for God to do what God does—take care of His children.  He wrote down all the answers to those needs.  God showed up, over, and over again, one miracle at a time. 

Sometimes, I have done the same thing–written down what we were trusting God for, and then the answers.  Even when I haven’t written it down, God has shown up and taken care of us, time and time again.  I know it feels like free falling to let go and trust God.  (It is a little like the movie where Indiana Jones had to walk across the canyon, and it looked like when he took the first step, he was going to fall, but, in reality, there was a bridge across the canyon.) 

This past year, God has continued to hold us up. He has been our bridge across the canyon.  He has held our hands and brought us through this year. He has not let us go.   He won’t let go of you either.

  So Be Encouraged!!