You must not see much action? It must be pretty slow where you work? It must be nice to work where there isn’t much danger.
I’ve received those comments in multiple forms when people ask what I do and I tell them that I work for a suburban/ rural sheriff’s office. Their replies express the thinking that there is less risk where there are more trees than people or fields than buildings. I never quite know how to respond. Law enforcement has to view danger and risk differently to maintain a sharp state of situational awareness. Visible danger kills cops, true, but invisible danger kills cops as well. Invisible danger is always present and lurks at each door a cop walks through and each car he approaches on the side of the road.
Visible danger can be seen in an urban area each night on the news. Newspapers and television coldly and matter-of-factly report about horrible things that happen nearly daily. If it bleeds it leads, as the saying goes. There is real, visible danger that an urban cop faces every night he takes to the streets. Guns are taken off bad guys. Foot chases lead to fist fights. Domestic disturbances lead to blood flow. Pursuits lead to pedestrian deaths. These things we see visibly and they form our idea of what risk and danger are.
The invisible dangers are trickier to quantify. There is the invisble danger of getting into a vehicle pursuit, clearing a house, or chasing a suspect on foot while the closest cop is 20 miles away instead of two blocks down the street. There is the invisible danger of dealing with an experienced hunter who knows how to use a rifle instead of a gang member who does not know how to clear a malfunction from a pistol. There is the invisble danger of making a traffic stop on a rural road, dimly lit with poor radio reception for communication with dispatch.
Now, I suppose this may sound like a cry for legitimacy from me. I matter! Maybe that is part of the reason my thoughts have driven this post. However, I process thoughts by writing, and I’ve wanted to get this clear in my head for a while. I knew a post like this would help me do so.
We all face invisible danger everyday we live. We rely on a muscle in our chest to beat constantly, providing life-sustaining blood to the rest of our body. We rely on lungs to work properly every second so that we can take in breath to keep us alive. Yet in a moment these organs could stop. In a moment our life could come to an end as a result of 10,000 unseen dangers that are all around us.
Paul talked about all the dangers he had faced in his life. Dangers on journeys and danger at sea. Dangers from rivers and dangers from robbers. Dangers in the city and dangers in the wilderness. What should be the outlook for the Christian in the face of all these visible and invisible dangers? After listing these dangers in II Corinthians 11 Paul said he boasted in his weakness- in his inability to control the outcome. Furthermore he said, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakenss.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persectutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:9-10).“
The visible and invisible dangers in Christ are designed and allowed so that we may boast in a King who is in control of it all. Christ reigns supreme over every flying bullet and every beating heart.