When security officials train employees for active shooter situations, they present three options:
- Run – get out of the building and run away – fast
- Hide – blockade the door to your room and hide inside
- Fight – if you cannot run or hide, be prepared to disarm, injure or kill the shooter
Unfortunately in our scary world, we need to be prepared to use these options.
But we can also exercise these three options when life unravels and we need to find hope. What are some examples from history and also from the present?
- When boundaries are not respected and a workplace grows unhealthy, we leave.
- When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, the only way he could respect his employer and obey God was to run.
- If a woman is living in a destructive relationship, she calls 9-1-1 and hurries to her safe place.
Sometimes the most courageous choice is to run.
- When Elijah was exhausted and afraid, he hid in a cave. God empathized and sent ravens to feed him.
- When exhausted ministers need a break, they take Sabbaticals. They hide from the many needs so they can recover and return refreshed.
- When a young mother is overwhelmed with the diapers and the late night feedings, she calls a friend and takes a break. She hides away for a while.
- When the 36 hour-day overwhelms a caregiver, he calls a friend to sit with his loved one and hides inside the theatre to watch a movie.
Sometimes the healthiest option is to hide for a while and let healing happen.
- When the enemy of our souls attacks with fear, we fight with the sword of the Spirit. We repeat our trust verses – outloud – because the enemy needs to hear our courage and he is a slow learner.
- When we are charged unfairly for a medical bill, we call customer service. We don’t stop until our questions are answered and the situation resolved.
- When we see someone being abused – whether it’s a woman, a person of a different color or a child – we report it to the proper authorities. We speak up against injustice. Think Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Carolyn Custis James.
- When Jesus experienced injustice, he often took action and fought back. Sometimes he spoke up, “Get behind me, Satan.” Sometimes he pitched tables across the church foyer.
Confrontation feels uncomfortable yet sometimes it is the only way to make our point and speak our truth.
Three options move us toward hope because in each scenario, the situation deserves some type of action. Run, Hide or Fight. Then we wake up the next morning feeling safer and glad we chose wisely.