Do I have your attention?

May 5, 2013

We live about a half-mile from the center of our bustling metropolis.  This means we are on the edge of town and the center of town at the same time.  Yes, our borough is that small.  Sometimes at night, when a really big fire summons several departments, I can hear first one, then two, then sometimes three and four different alarm sirens, starting from different Burroughs and echoing off the mountainsides.  It is almost comforting, if you don’t stop and think of why the sirens are sounding.

From a half-mile, or more away the fire siren is noticeable but not an interruption.  It’s not alarming.  We think, out loud or to ourselves, “I wonder what is on fire today.”  Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, we remember to pray for the fire fighters and the victims, but there is nothing inconvenient about the fire siren from a distance, even though, or maybe because, we hear it at least once a day.

 However, recently we were “downtown” just a half a block from the fire hall when the siren went off.  It got our undivided attention.


Everything came to a stop.




Everyone around us glanced up, as if looking at the siren we would somehow see and avert a disaster.  Conversations were virtually impossible for the minute the siren sounded; everyone’s attention was, momentarily at least, redirected to the emergency.  Even though there was not a thing we could do, (or would do, for that matter) we had not one scintilla more of information.  But it commanded our undivided attention.  At least for the sixty seconds that it butted into our life, we were unable to even hear each other.


I sometimes wonder how loud the warning siren of the Holy Spirit has to be to get our attention in that way. I know there are times in my life where I can hear the distinct, “Watch out!” or “Don’t!”   Times when I am immediately warned, and I immediately respond.   Then I gloat, “I heard and obeyed.”  Other times it is as if the message was coming from the other side of the mountain. 

And I know that it isn’t God who has moved.

But if it is not a glaring, loud, interrupting, Holy Holler, I wonder how often I ignore.   Do I let the quiet promptings slide?  Do I let the warning whispers fade into the background of my life?  Or do I pay close enough attention to be warned away from dangerous conversations, dangerous relationships, dangerous web pages, and even dangerous thought patterns? 

I believe, when we are following closely, walking in obedience (Might I even say holiness?) God doesn’t need to shout to get our attention.  He doesn’t need to show up in an earthquake or a fire.  God longs to speak to us in a gentle whisper, and He longs that we would still respond instantly, as if the town fire siren had just gone off.

Proverbs 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 & 6:1 each starts with the words  “My child, listen…”   I believe God has more to say in stillness – when we take the time for stillness.  I am grateful that he loves me enough to interrupt my foolishness from time to time; that he cares enough to save me from things like a deer in the road, or a dumb decision; that he wants my best to always be my first choice.  God wants to speak to me in stillness, I am grateful He doesn’t limit Himself to that.

I know it’s true that:  “.. my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.   “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8, 9)  I also know that, as a follower of Jesus, we can have the mind of Christ!  (I Corinthians 2:16)  It is up to us.  He will shout at us only so long, he will whisper only so many times.  (More than I deserve.) 

But if I don’t listen….

I hope, like volunteer fire-fighters drop whatever they are doing to respond to an emergency, I stop, listen, and obey when God speaks.

Whether it is a siren or a sigh. 


How do you keep the channels open to hear from God?



If this post blesses or encourages you, I hope you would share it with your friends.


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