I’m confident if we all thought for a moment, we could remember some close calls in our life. Events that could have easily gone either way and changed the fate of that day, that trip or that relationship. Maybe you were a teenager and almost got caught by your parents, maybe you were a traveller and just caught that flight, or maybe you were moments away from making a wrong decision until a friend spoke sense into you.
For the people of Hawaii, they had a close call on January 13th when an alert mistakenly went out to the entire state communicating that a ballistic missile threat was inbound. For up to 38 minutes, residents were left to react in a variety of ways before the mistake was corrected. I talked to a friend today who was there and she was describing the calmness of some and the panic of others. People fled, hid, and contacted loved ones.
What do you think you would have done?
While this was a false alarm, I bet many found or re-evaluated their priorities after this. Close calls have the power to serve as wake-up calls if we allow them. They can become clarifying moments where we see what’s in our hearts and what’s important.
Other events, like births, weddings and funerals have this potential too. In my early twenties, I had the strange spiritual discipline of attending funerals of people i didn’t know. The church i worked at was a venue for funerals, and so I would sneak in to the back of the closed balcony section and just observe to be reminded of the sanctity of life. In the midst of whatever busyness I was caught up in, I wanted to force myself to remember what was ultimately important.
Whether close calls or events that mark stages of life, these moments can serve as God’s grace to us if we allow them. They can get our attention and refocus us like nothing else. They can birth gratitude where we didn’t know we needed it. They can soften our hearts that have been stubborn for years.
These moments remind me of a verse quoted in Hebrews 3:15:
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
This verse is a plea to take stock of the moment and listen closely to what God may be telling you. It may be that He’s guiding you towards wisdom and true life, or saving you from a path that is harmful and leads away from Him. Either way, wake-up call moments are a chance to trust that God wants good for you, and a sign that He is pursuing and loves you.
So may we listen, and instead of hardening our hearts, soften them to be receptive to His voice.