Reader’s Digest magazine publishes collections of the unusual, the ironic, and sometimes the comedic. This past spring they ran an article entitled “Outrageously Funny 911 Calls.” You would think that people who dial 911 are in emergency situations and need immediate help. Something has gone terribly wrong and first responders are required. Evidently, not always.

I needed these on a Monday morning:

  • The Regina Fire Department was summoned to battle an inferno that was supposedly raging at a nearby Canadian Football League stadium. Turns out, a video of a burning log was playing on the giant video screen.
  • In Lincoln, Nebraska, a man called to report a burglary. What he didn’t tell police was that his favorite hookah pipes were missing. What the police did discover were the marijuana plants growing at his house.
  • A woman in Dacula, Georgia dialed 911 to report that her Chevy van was missing, presumed stolen. A little while later, she called back to say that her van had been found, parked behind her overgrown backyard.
  • In Burnett, Wisconsin, police received a call from a 7 year-old girl. When police arrived, they discovered that the girl was turning in her grandfather for cheating in a game of cards.

Kim and I certainly remember the day when a policeman knocked on our door. Kim answered and asked the officer if there was a problem. He said, “Yes, Ma’am. I am responding to a 911 call from your home.” Kim tried to explain that it must be a mistake. “No one from this house had made such a call,” she told him. The policeman assured her that the call did indeed come from our house. She was perplexed, until a little head poked around the corner. One of our sons, I won’t mention his name, was about three at the time. He had just learned about firemen and policemen at his preschool. Coupled with the fact that he was mad at his mom about something, he decided to dial 911. Of course, he hung up when the call was answered. Thus, the visit from one of Jacksonville’s finest.

There is nothing funny or cute about many calls for help. People are in crisis. It seems that more and more folks are desperate for someone to respond, and to do it quickly. Where do you turn? Who do you call? Have you built systems of faith, family, friends, neighbors, fellow Christians, colleagues that are reliable? Are you a part of such systems for others?

Do you find strength, comfort, peace, grace, and assurance from your relationship with God? Does your prayer and devotional life keep you calm when the storms rage? Have you discovered a haven with the One who promised to be our refuge, fortress, rock, shepherd, helper, the Mighty One, and so many others? We all need help from time to time. Just remember to dial the right number.



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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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