Yesterday evening my wife and I were at dinner with our 28 year old son and his beautiful wife when he told me a story I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t known him so well. That afternoon he and his wife, who is almost 8 months pregnant, were going to a local water-park for her to paddle around and get some exercise. They were driving down a four lane busy street in our community and were at a point where there is a major medical hospital and a small psychiatric hospital about one block apart. As they approached the psychiatric hospital a car pulled up into its parking lot and a man got out of the back seat and took off running right across the street with cars whizzing by. The driver got out and began to give chase. Zack said he figured this wasn’t a good situation so he got out and entered the chase. He quickly caught the driver, who was out of shape and couldn’t go any further. He asked, “What’s happening?” The driver replied, “I was transporting him from another city and he started screaming that his case worker wanted to kill him and then he took off!” It was obvious this guy couldn’t continue the chase so Zack asked the driver if he wanted him to try to catch the poor man, who was obviously delusional. He said, “Please, if you would. I don’t know if he will hurt himself or not.”
By this time the escapee had gone down to the major hospital that had a walkway over the street from the hospital to the five story parking garage. Zack caught up with him on the bridge. By this time a woman from the psych hospital was up on the other end trying to block the man. He easily pushed his way past her and continued to the garage. Others from the hospital entered into the chase. Everyone was running around on the first floor of the garage looking for the man. Zack surmised that if the man wanted to hurt himself he would probably go to the top floor. So Zack ran all the way to the top floor and sure enough, there was the man straddling the ledge. Zack stopped a distance away and began to talk softly to the man; afraid if he approached him he would jump. Soon a woman from the hospital made it to the top and was able to gently talk him off the ledge. The man fell on his knees crying and the woman placed her arm around him, patting him and speaking softly. Suddenly, he cried out, “My case worker wants to kill me” and off he went again. Zack again gave chase and caught him and was able to restrain him. Zack said, “Dad he was big but soft so I was able to hold him. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to slam him to the concrete for fear of hurting him so I just held him. When I loosened my grip he took off again.” Again Zack gave chase. By this time the first police officer showed up and together they cornered the man for a moment. Suddenly, off he went again and now Zack and the officer are in pursuit. Again, they get him cornered about the time a second officer showed up. Together the two officers restrained him and carried him back to the hospital.
I said, “Son, I’m 59 years old and I’ve never had anything even near that wild happen to me!” That’s incredible!
He said, “Dad, the worst of it was I was wearing my flip flops! I never wear my flip-flops out during the day because I’ve always thought I might have to run from someone or run after someone! The one day I wear my flip-flops (on the way to the water-park) it happens! I had to chase this dude in my flip-flops!
Now beyond being proud of my son for being willing to put himself at risk to help an obviously distressed soul, I immediately began to make the spiritual application in my mind. I thought about where the Word addresses the issue of preparedness at all times.
II Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.””
II Timothy 4:2 says “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
Just as Zack found himself unprepared for a foot race with a delusional escapee, how often, when the opportunity of ministry presents itself, do we find ourselves unprepared? In other words wearing “spiritual flip-flops.” You never know when you will have the chance to share the faith. Don’t be unprepared. Don’t get caught in “flip-flops”.
Rather, “…Shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)