Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day.
In addition to facing threats of violence, they regularly come into contact with our society’s most heartbreaking and traumatic circumstances — and do so with strength and courage.
Like any person who steps into a position of authority, police officers may also find themselves the target of public scrutiny.
Some days are easier than others, but for their families, the knowledge that these brave men and women are inviting danger into their lives on a daily basis can make peace and faith hard to come by.
On Sept. 21, one officer in DeLand, Florida, got a little extra encouragement after a young man stopped to pray for him, asking for safety and protection.
While standing at the counter at a Zaxby’s restaurant, Officer Cameron Tucker of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office started chatting with a young man named Juan O’Neal as they waited on their meals, according to Fox News.
Tucker didn’t think much of the interaction at first.
But a few moments later, the 21-year-old approached Tucker’s table while he was eating with his wife and asked to pray for him. The officer readily agreed, and O’Neal placed a hand on his shoulder and began to pray.
“Tonight was a night that I will never forget,” Tucker’s wife, Justine Tucker, wrote on Facebook. She posted a photo of the exchange that quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes and shares as people found encouragement in the simple gesture.
“This picture is a reminder of God’s constant love and perfect timing,” the post continued.
“After crying my eyes out we got to have an amazing conversation with this gentleman. He was on FIRE for God and you could feel His presence in the room. He said that he had felt compelled to talk to us and to pray over Cameron.”
The police officer later said that the act of kindness meant a lot to him and had renewed his faith during a time when he needed refreshment.
“We could use all the prayer and help that we can get,” he told WESH-TV. “I couldn’t be more thankful that he stopped by that day.”
O’Neal, the son of a law enforcement officer, said that he had just felt God calling him to offer the Tuckers support and hope.
Coming up @WESH 4pm, a picture of a young man, a stranger to him, praying over a @VolusiaSheriff deputy, goes viral. We met both and will share the inspiring, touching story! pic.twitter.com/3OtvV5TIkQ
— claire metz (@clairemetzwesh) September 25, 2019
“I really just wanted to let him know that I see him and that I appreciate his service, because … my dad has gone through a lot and I see a lot on the news.”
“I just wanted to go and just encourage them and just be a light,” he told WESH.
The photo resonated with thousands online, reminding people that a small act of kindness can have a huge impact. O’Neal’s simple prayer served to remind the Tuckers that even in the midst of the greatest challenges, they are never alone.
“God is there for us,” he said.
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