First Responders

My heart has been heavy and I have wondered why I feel so gloomy. Then I realize the amount of news reporting I have been watching lately. I see the headlines, I watch the world around me and it is so easy to feel a thick cloud of doom and gloom creep up around the back of my neck. Social media is no place to find freedom from the events that make my head spin in disbelief. Facebook is no longer just a place to share your vacation photos. It has become a hot bed of gossip when others fall, opinions are a dime a dozen and heated conversations leave me feeling like “unfriending” everyone and hiding under the bed for shelter.

When I really consider the gloomy feeling I have, my first response to what is going on around me is to fear. Fear of how this or that will affect me. What I would like to find under the cloud is more sorrow and repentance for myself and our nation. The prophets of old really knew how to “feel” when their nation’s sin was against God. And they knew where to turn. No rants on Facebook, no phone calls to the local TV station, no late night interviews. They knew how to pray and they knew how to fast for God’s answers and intervention. I have never resorted to sackcloth and ashes but I wonder if God told me to go to the town square and throw ashes on my head, would I?

When the news is bad, tragic, ugly, I really do want to be a first responder. I want to first respond through prayer and repentance not with fear. So how can you and I become first responders? I don’t know yet. As I write this our Summer Conference theme, “Live Courageously” keeps running through my mind. I have an idea that what I am feeling is preparing my heart for what I will need to hear in the upcoming weeks. So, if you are interested in becoming a first responder turn off the news, don’t worry about what your friends are doing, don’t follow anyone. Instead, visit America’s Keswick for a week, come to the meetings in person or watch online. I don’t doubt that you and I are being called to be first responders in a world that needs us, not to just form a line against the foe, but truly get serious and get our hands dirty. The emergency sirens are going off. Will you and I respond?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT


Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves in Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and teaches a Bible Study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.

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