The 911 Call That’s As Simple As 1-2-3

There are days when you know you love your job, and I bet that’s how this 911 operator felt after getting a phone call from a little boy in need of help:

Did you hear the part where the man asked “What kind of math”? It’s like he’s trying to decide, “Should I dispatch the Simple Arithmetic Unit or does this case call for the elite Quadratic Equation Squad? Quick, someone get me a calculator!”

Speaking as a person who flunked high school algebra, I’m just glad the kid reached someone who could actually help.

An Even Easier Call For Help

Did you know that 911 emergency telephone service originally started with 999 being the number to call? According to one article, it was first used in the United Kingdom back in 1937 with the number making its way to North America the next year at the direction of the Mayor of Winnipeg.

The idea of calling out for help goes back even farther, of course. King David called on God for help way back around 1000 BCE:

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalm 18:6.)

This same help is available to us as well. In his last conversation with his friends, after dinner mere hours before his arrest and execution, Jesus said:

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16-17.)

Jesus said our help, the One who stands up for us, is with us now and forever? Yes. When we seek truth, we turn to him who is the Spirit of Truth himself. And we don’t need a cell phone or internet access. He is not only with us, but Jesus went on to say:

… he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:17.)

So while that little boy found the help he needed at the other end of the telephone, God tells us to look to him who is always right here with us – the Holy Spirit – for the help we need to live in Jesus.

It’s better than 911, and easier than 1-2-3.


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12 Responses to The 911 Call That’s As Simple As 1-2-3

  1. Ruth says: cute was he, and how totally responsive and kind the operator! Played this to my son, he loved your comments about which unit to dispatch, so did I. That operator sort of makes me think of how God might respond to his little children tying themselves in knots, and telling God He has to help them…you have to help me with my math…..and He responds to our demands in a loving gentle way. Beautiful.

    • Tim says:

      That analogy is wonderful, Ruth. “God, you have to help me with my math … I’m doing take-aways and they’re hard!”

  2. Laura Droege says:

    That is one hilarious phone call. I’ve heard of adults calling 911 for non-emergency things (like a hamburger that was made incorrectly at a fast food place) and write them off as stupid (I can be very judgmental!), but this kid was obviously just applying the school lesson of calling 911 when you need help! Four-year-olds don’t know what “emergency” means. But at least he’s not scared to pick up the phone for help. If there’s a true emergency, I bet he’ll call 911 again. 🙂

    Anyway, I enjoyed the post. Thank God I don’t need a phone to get help from Him. His batteries never wear down.

  3. “You said if I need help to call somebody!”
    I love it! My children have taught me to be much more literal with my language.
    I also love that the operator didn’t simply give answers but asked the boy, “What do you think the answer is?”

    • Tim says:

      It’s a good image of how God sometimes answers our prayers for help too. His decision not to jump right in and fix things might be so that we can grow in him and see the strength and wisdom he has given us being borne out in our lives, and then we see it was all because of him all along anyway.

  4. Jeannie says:

    That was great. My pastor is always talking about “takeaways” — I thought he meant “points to ponder” but maybe he meant subtraction. Or maybe he meant takeout food in Britain … am I getting off topic here?

  5. Another beautiful analogy 🙂

  6. Aimee Byrd says:

    This post was both amusing and very comforting, Tim.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks, Aimee. Every time I listen to that 911 call I find comfort too. I keep thinking about how God wants us to come to him all the time.

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