Night Shift

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I don’t live a normal life.

I work as a paramedic on weekend nights and see a part of society that few know of except for the horror stories they hear. Lights and sirens are my anthem as I’m rushing to the person who dialed 911: the rich executive with abdominal pain; the alcoholic drinking mouthwash; the victims of car accidents, stabbings, overdoses, and heart attacks.

For many years I lived this life as a struggling member of secular society, trying to be part of the “in” crowd. Having grown up in the Roman Catholic Church, I’d had many lessons about Christ through my schooling but didn’t take them to heart. I left the church because I didn’t agree with the dogma.

Then my daughter was born, and that’s when I heard God’s voice again. I was picking up on whispers before then, when she would kick in my wife’s womb, but it wasn’t until I actually saw her that God’s voice was audible. At first I didn’t listen. But while voting in the 2008 election at Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, the voting place for my district, I found God. I’d been there a few times before, but that day the place seemed different—perhaps because my daughter was crawling on the floor, pulling books off a shelf. I began inquiring and quickly realized that God had been calling me to this church.

The hardest part of my life is wanting to be more involved in the church, but always finding conflicts: Bible study is on Wednesday nights, and I’m at work. The fellowship time after church is right when our daughter is ready for her nap—and a nap for me wouldn’t hurt either. I want to stop being on the bench as a “fan” of Christ and start being a “follower.” It just seems as if my life isn’t playing along.

But sometimes I get these moments at work when no one is calling and I can sit back and try to sift my way through the Bible. Then I find out my own brokenness and unworthiness before God; sometimes I cry at how shallow and undeserving I am of God’s love.

The night shift is rough. Sundays are the hardest, when I try to reset to the day schedule. Often I just want to call in sick and try to get more than three or four hours of sleep instead of going to church. But every week I find the strength to get up and hear God’s Word. And every week I feel my relationship with God growing.

Family and friends, coworkers and strangers ridiculed me for becoming a Christian again. They didn’t understand why I had gone back to church and mocked me for believing in God.

Then my pastor preached on Luke 12:51-53. Jesus said he was  here not to bring peace, but division. He told us how we as Christians are set apart from society by our belief in Christ, and how we need to be prepared for ridicule and being shunned. To know that I will never again set foot in the society to which I tried for so long to belong was both comforting and scary.

This is what I learned: that our home in Christ is a haven, one that few understand but all seek. I now know that I will be apart from society. And I’m happy with that, for Christ has already shown me his love and his power to provide. I thank God daily for bringing me back to him and pray that I continue to try to follow his commands. I thank God for forgiving me when I fail him. Mostly I thank God for loving us so much that he saved us through Christ, our Lord and Savior.

About the Author

Dennis Royman is a paramedic with Sandoval Regional Medical Center and a member of Fellowship Christian Reformed Church, Albuquerque, N.M

 

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