We were traveling in Peru a couple of weeks ago, and I snapped this picture of a fire extinguisher case. It’s labeled with the simple words Rompa el vidrio en caso de incendio — “Break the glass in case of fire.” The words are paired with a fist demonstrating how said glass breaking might be accomplished.
Something about that fist seems explosive, like a revolutionary propaganda poster. It’s nothing like the polite signs I usually see that make breaking the glass look about as dangerous as cracking an egg for breakfast. This is break the glass with an exclamation point! This all caps: BREAK THE GLASS! Put your fist through it! Or at least, that’s how it looked to me.
In a moment of urgency and emergency we break the glass. The place is going up in flames, and we desperately need the resource stored behind that glass.
I suspect that a lot of us have some break-the-glass resources we keep stashed away in our lives, resources we turn to in moments of trial. It’s the friend we call, the quiet place we retreat to, the promise from God that we remember and roll around in our minds when things get tough. In case of emergency, break the glass.
For many of us, the resource we keep in case of emergency is the word of the Scriptures. We have a verse or chapter or book of the Bible that we turn to when things are falling apart or going up in flames.
Lately though, I’ve been drawn to Psalm 144:1 “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” I know, it’s a bit of a strange choice for someone committed to the gospel of peace. But I internalize this verse. I take it on spiritual terms. I read it as a verse meant to equip me to follow my conscience, be passionate about my commitments, and fight the good fight of the faith. I read the verse in light of Jesus, who taught the way of the cross with its self-sacrificial love of enemies. But it’s the passage I go to when I need to stiffen up my spine for the rough and tumble of life.
So what’s your break-the-glass verse? Is it a psalm, a passage from the Sermon on the Mount, a word from the prophets? I’d love to hear from you. Share yours in the “comment” feature.