The Cop

Yesterday we broke our record for closest call with the law. About ten minutes before our service started, a police officer showed up. Well, when I say showed up, I mean he walked right into our auditorium while our musicians were practicing and the rest of us were putting out songbooks. By the time anyone noticed him, he was standing in the middle of the room asking who was in charge. Our song leader stopped the singing and asked nervously if there was a problem.

‘There’s a problem, alright!’ the officer shot back. Fantastic. The song leader came back and invited the officer to the back room to sit down. Before I went in to join them, I told my wife, ‘Well, that’s it. Guess we’re done.’ A couple of the other guys came to the back room, too, and we closed the door.

‘What is this place? Who’s in charge?’

The guys answered very carefully. ‘Like the sign says outside, we’re a consulting company. We’re about to have a class.’ Then the officer wanted to know if we had some kind of certification for our building – huge sigh of relief. It quickly became clear that he was not there because of our church, but because of our business. So he snooped around for a little while – and apparently he could care less about shelves of books about Christianity and stacks of Bibles. Then he left, telling us what we needed to do to get legit.

Meanwhile, a couple miles away, one of our members was riding the bus on the way to church. Suddenly, the bus’ engine quit, and the driver pulled over to the side of the road. While the driver checked the engine, this student (who is a studying for her doctorate in nuclear physics) realized she might be late to church and thought about some of the problems we’ve had lately. So she guessed that maybe she ought to pray for our church’s safety. A couple minutes later, the driver declared there was nothing wrong with the engine and started it back up. Really blew this girl’s mind when she got to church a couple minutes after the officer left and heard the story.

I think one of the most foolish things that we do as believers is to mistake answers to prayer for coincidence. Seriously – that officer was leaving, and something in my head said, ‘Well, there you go, wasn’t any danger after all; he was just here about the business.’ Unbelievable. A police officer walked into our illegal church ten minutes before service, while a dozen students were practicing for the song service and were putting out Bibles and songbooks – and nothing happened. If that’s not protection, then what is? And here I am ready to chalk up a victory for randomness.

Why does God bring us so close to danger? Seems to be a nasty habit of his, doesn’t it? Doesn’t do a miracle until Daniel is in the lions’ den. Doesn’t open the Red Sea until the Egyptians are hot on the trail. Doesn’t even heal Lazarus until he’s dead! It’s probably partly to do with God’s bringing us to trust him more fully. That more of the iceberg of our fear would melt into the warm waters of security in God. Honestly, that officer showing up really shook me up. It affected the rest of the service. It’s easy to feel like you’re a brave person until you’re up close to the fearsome. Skydiving is scariest when you’re in the airplane with the door open. Walking on water is scariest when the waves are hitting your feet.

So, thanks so much to all of you who join us in your prayers! Please don’t stop!

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5 Comments on “The Cop”

  1. Jason Holt November 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    Unbelievable! It seems that you guys are living on the edge every week! Must be an exciting way to live 🙂
    Keep it up bro
    Jason

  2. P. November 23, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    You do not know how blessed I am to have found this site. Exactly what I needed, and God has provided. Glory to God in the highest. I’m reading from start to finish, and will be praying for you guys.
    -P.

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  1. Tweets that mention The Cop « The Gospel in China -- Topsy.com - November 9, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Travis Snode and missionaryradio, David Gardner. David Gardner said: Awesome article about church in China http://bit.ly/2SMGUt […]

  2. uberVU - social comments - November 10, 2009

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by gardnerinperu: Awesome article about church in China http://bit.ly/2SMGUt

  3. The Cop : Austin Gardner - November 10, 2009

    […] Nov 9, 2009 7:30 AM – Show original item […]

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