CLEF Newsletter - May 2016

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). “Not only this, but we triumph in our troubles, knowing that such distresses breed in us perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within (the hearts of those who receive Him)” (Romans 5:3-5). “Now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest is love… from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith” (I Corinthians 13:13; I Timothy 1:5).

The month of April brought much heart-ache and distress to our law enforcement community. The suicide that traumatized personnel from the Sheriff’s and DA’s office brought home again how strongly our LE community is linked. Our close-knit agencies often interchange personnel and in many ways function as one… an interpersonal dynamic that relatively few counties in our state, even nation, can appreciate. When one of our inter-agency own is hurt or lost we all suffer the pain of it, and our condolences are effusive. For those who are closer to the loss relationally, we may question our sincerity as to why we didn’t see it coming or weren’t more alert to prevent it. Such questions are really of no value. The depth of our pain testifies in itself our care and concern for them. Had there been a reasonable indicator of what was brewing we would most certainly have done everything possible to intervene and stop it, and indeed such was the case here, just not in time.

And so we are most always caught off-guard, and left with a helpless sense of futility and regret. This will always be our feeling because of the closeness of our profession and because by nature we are rescuers. So we weep together, and renew our resolve to stay engaged and vigilant with each other… but it’s never a perfect solution. Yet we must strive to stay connected… noting our concern for each other, over coffee, with a meet, Code-7, or a caring phone call with a listening ear. Taking the time to show you care about someone reminds them that they are valued.

Scripture says that “man is born unto adversity even as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Proverbs states “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (17:17); and that “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (18:24). Trouble is inevitable, and a friend is inviolable. Jesus made this same treatise when in his final address to His disciples said “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Trouble will find us, but what we need to understand is that there is also in it a divine design to engage us relationally, as we are not wired to face trouble alone. Trouble makes us stronger, but we get there as God uses us to carry each other through the process. And in His design are three powerful traits that build in us the confidence, clarity, conviction and compassion we need to help each other be the overcomers God equips us to be. We can gyrate on our own around all the trouble we encounter and not gain much more than a bitter spirit or cynical attitude about nearly everything. But when we are willing to reach out to each other and strive together, regardless of the circumstances, we begin to tap into the reality of a faith, hope and love that enables us to stand firm. When we do, it is a battle we can and will win.

And faith in and of itself is only wishful thinking unless we have confidence in the object of that faith. Just having faith means nothing unless what or who we have faith in has proven to be genuinely trustworthy. And what we hope in must be from more than the pipe-dreams of our own faulted notions. It must of a certainty be from the certitude that what is best will be so in the outcome of our situation. Finally what binds it all together is self-giving, self-sacrificing, self-emptying love that finds joy, satisfaction, fulfillment and rest in the well-being and enlargement of others. With a faith that can move mountains because it’s grounded in the Maker of them, a hope that never dies because it’s generated by God’s eternity in our hearts, and a love that goes before us with an ultimate sacrifice to prove God’s everlasting promise, fears and insecurities fall further away, and generate courage against despair.

Finally while God is our ultimate source of help and strength, He has graciously given us highly skilled people who care deeply about our well-being and stand ready to assist when life gets overwhelming, or even just perplexing. I’m grateful we serve in a department that provides diverse resources of support. The Wellness Unit, including Focus Counseling Services, Peer Support and we chaplains are there for your sake, ready to listen and equipped to help. Life is precious, a gift from which we wield the joy of blessing others, thrill at the good things God gives us, and revel in the awesome adventure of discovery, learning and enlargement of our well-being as we grow in character. Core values such as Honesty, Loyalty, Trust, Respect, Fairness and Integrity are not just platitudes. They’re keys to personal development and wholeness and are realized as we grow to understand the beauty, power and dignity of life itself, by God whose image it manifests. The more we use it to be found faithful, the more vital our life becomes.

“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. Our hearts rejoice in Him, because we trust in His Holy Name. Let Thy lovingkindness, Lord, be upon us, even as we have trusted in You” (Psalm 33:20-22)