We have a fancy-schmancy coffee maker that comes with all the typical pre-programing bells and whistles. This one also alerts you when the coffee is finished brewing, and one hour after to remind you it will be turning itself off. Originally, it must have been pretty pricy. I bought it for $10, lightly used from a friend.
We are super spoiled nowadays with all the alerts and signals our gadgets, appliances and cars are programed with. Our phones signal us of voice and text message alerts. Mine sounds like the ding-dong of a doorbell, my husband’s whistles.
Even our body comes with basic pre-programed signals that remind us to eat, to sleep, to take better care of ourselves, etc. We even have a pain alert most of us don’t appreciate. I sprained my ankle Memorial Day weekend, and I still get you-over-did-it alerts when I get physically overzealous. Headaches alert us of stress or misalignment or that something else is going on. If we accidently lean up against a very hot surface, we get an immediate pain, signaling us to move quickly or we will get burned.
I wish God’s messages to us came with some kind of an alert or signal instead of the quiet prompting or voice with which He speaks. Recently, it poured rain in our area. We have a hoop-greenhouse. The stakes on the cover of the greenhouse needed to be adjusted and tightened, but I put off going outside because it had been raining, and my sprained ankle still bothered me.
Several times during those days, I got that obvious prompting to go check the greenhouse when I wasn’t even thinking of it. I’d look out the window and things looked fine with the greenhouse. “I’ll go out there and check on it later.” I’d respond. Finally, after the third day of promptings, I went out in the back yard and gasped! Two stakes had completely pulled off on one side of the greenhouse and the rubber like ceiling had concaved in, holding giant bubbles of water between the hoops, nearly destroying my plants!
When I say giant, I mean each bubble was like a ten gallon aquarium. But I couldn’t see this problem from the house. Everything looked fine from the window I had been looking through. I’m surprised the metal hoops weren’t bent. I pulled all the buckets full of water out that I could reach. The greenhouse is 6.5 feet tall at it’s highest. Then I squeezed and pushed and huffed and puffed, lifting the bubbles as much as I could, trying to roll the remainder of the water down the side, by the little windows. After about 15 minutes of hard work, I had successfully gotten rid of the water. I was cold, wet and muddy.
I took a warm shower and kept chiding myself for not paying attention to the promptings. This had not been the first time I felt nudged by God, and put it off, then later was terribly sorry I did. I thanked God for warning me.
Nearly a decade ago, I was in a very horrible place in my life. Everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. Awful things in my marriage, and with my grown kids I never imagined possible were coming at me from all directions. It was a full head-on attack that went on for an extended period of time. The fact that I was also dealing with some big health issues only made matters worse.
I will never forget one night, late into the evening, I battled things out with the Lord. I felt completely alienated from the world, even from Him. He seemed so distant. My life felt beyond hope. All that I could see in front of me was the giant dungeon of despair.
Finally, I said to God. “I doubt you really care for me because if you did, you would let me know you are there. Life is miserable and I can’t go on. I feel like my life is the punch line to one of your jokes. I have had it. Come tomorrow, I will begin to make plans to end my life.” At that very moment, I felt a very strange feeling inside I cannot explain. Like there had already been a death inside me. I lay in bed and thought of ways to end my life quickly.
The next morning my husband told me Rita, a woman from a Bible study we had been attending, called early, while I was asleep.
“It was weird,” he said, “she just said it was important for me to tell you that God told her to lift you up in prayer this whole week.”
I was silent. “Did you hear me?” He repeated what Rita said. “ I didn’t think you two knew each other that well. What was that about?”
I knew exactly what it was about. It was God showing me He did care, He was there, and loved me enough to let me know through an unlikely person. I’m so glad Rita listened to His quiet voice. I wonder how differently things may have turned out had she put this off.
Psalm 46: 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God
Photo courtesy of EarthCare Greenhouses.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian ©2013