Fire Alarms

God, you know my foolishness. My sins aren’t hidden from you. (Psalms 69:5 WEB)

I grew up a normal American boy. I liked baseball, hot dogs and fire engines. All those bright, shiny red vehicles made my eyes glaze over in wonder. “Emergency” was one of my favorite programs and the sound of a siren starts my mouth watering in excitement.

Feuerwehr is the German/Austrian word for Fire Station. On the opposite side of our parking lot is the Gießhübl Feuerwehr. The station sports a tall tower with the siren right at the top. This elevation was perfect for calling the volunteers to resolve the latest emergency. It was also the same height as our dining room window. Every Saturday at noon we were reminded of its presence. It was loud, ear shattering and we couldn’t miss it even with the windows closed.

Whenever they sounded the alarm we enjoyed watching events unfold. As a volunteer Fire Department the men came running from up and down the hill to bring out the trucks and ambulance. On several occasions we had our thoughts jarred as the loud horn began its call to arms.

FrontBalcony2One week I was in Bratislava for some mission work. When I returned home the family filled me on the evenings events. Late that evening the fire alarm sounded. It startled the family from their activities. Being curious, Beth and Joel went out on the balcony and watched the men arrive and the trucks drive out of the Feuerwehr.

Instead of heading down the street the trucks came around the back of the Feuerwehr and into our parking lot. They bounded off the vehicles and headed up the stairs in our building axes in hand, helmets wagging on their heads.

A few seconds later there was a resounding knock on the apartment door. When Beth and Joel opened the door of the apartment they were greeted by firemen with glow in the dark hats and appropriate jackets looking for a fire.

Apparently someone had seen the flame from the citronella candles on the balcony and thought there was a fire in our apartment. Beth showed them the candle after they gestured that they were looking for a burning residence. Speaking no English, the firemen looked at the candle, shrugged their shoulders and turned to leave. Other firemen saw the cause of the commotion and laughed at the situation.

We can now confirm the Feuerwehr in Gießhübl works quite well and responds quickly to calls for action. They also appear to be nice fellows and were understanding of the mix-up.

Sometimes we jump to conclusions. Even as Christians, we see a small flame make a wild assumption and call out the theological fire department to squelch the flames. The results can be devastating as spiritual doors are battered down by well-meaning believers.

God knows. He doesn’t jump to conclusions. When He sends out the fire department there are flames to be quenched. When His convicting spirit points to a sin in our life in need of attention we can’t point to a misunderstanding.

We love to watch firemen rushing to some disaster. Sometimes the disaster is in our own life. Next time we hear the fire alarm maybe it would be a good time to pray for those experiencing some disaster and evaluate our own heart to be sure there are no wildfires in our own soul.


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