Not a false alarm this time!
Published 2:22 pm Friday, July 19, 2019
Several years ago Gale and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days to attend a church function. In preparation for our trip, I reserved a motel room online at a facility I had never been to before. Sometimes the pictures that are posted and how things really are do not match up, but this time it seemed that the motel would deliver on everything that was shown and said about it. After church we got back to the room and found everything comfortable, clean and peaceful. I remarked to Gale about how nice and quiet it was. Not long after I expressed my pleasure with the tranquility of our surroundings, things took a sudden turn as a piercing sound bellowed out in our room and in the hallway. Very quickly, curious people appeared by their doors looking around to see why the smoke alarms were going off.
I have been in hospitals when the alarm systems were being tested so I assumed that was the case this time, but now that I have had time to rethink the whole matter I never remember a motel doing a fire drill unannounced at bedtime. We got dressed enough to be decent in case we needed to evacuate, but I still could not imagine that it was anything other than a test of the system and we took no further action. But in a few minutes a smell was evident in the air—it was not a false alarm this time!
I consider myself to be a reasonably cautious person—I wore my seatbelt long before the law required it and I make a lot of impatient drivers disgusted because I strive to obey the speed limit. But when that alarm sounded, I stayed in the building, possibly loosing valuable time that could have made the difference between safety and jeopardy. I admit that that was not a wise decision.
I am convinced that one of the biggest dangers in the church world today among those who claim to be followers of Christ is the lack of knowledge and application of the Word of God—the Bible. That Precious Book is filled with guidance and warnings for our lives but too often it is neglected and not put into practice in our daily lives, much like I failed to act when the alarm sounded in that motel. Life is real, eternity is real, and we need real direction from God in order to know how to face both. He has provided that guidance for us through His Word. Centuries ago King David made an observation that is still just as valid for us today as it was for him way back then: “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him” (2 Samuel 22:31, New International Version). And in the New Testament, James wisely instructs us: “Do not merely listen to the word [of God], and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
When the smoke alarm went off I wasted what could have been precious time wondering if its message was real. It was real, but thankfully, it was only the result of a minor mishap in one of the kitchenettes (we were told that someone burned a pizza). One of the safest truths that we can cling to and apply to our lives is that God’s entire Word—its warnings, promises and guidance—means what it says. It is in our best interest to follow it and not waste time wondering if God really meant what He said. He did!