Are You Paying Attention to the Warning Signs?

Gwen Smith Blog, Priorities, Wisdom 3 Comments

It’s not every day you come close to death. Especially when you’re young.

It was a beautiful spring day in Akron, Ohio. I’d just gotten off work and was excited to meet with a manager of the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner for my wedding would be held. One of my bridesmaids and best friends was going with me and we planned to sample several items to select the final menu.

Michele worked just down the road from me, so we met up in the parking lot of my workplace then she followed behind my car in hers as we headed to dinner. The restaurant was in an area called “the valley,” and there was a long, steep hill leading down to its location. At the bottom of that long, steep hill red and white striped rails occasionally lowered to the sound of ringing while flashing red lights warned drivers of an oncoming train.

The music blared and excitement raced in my heart as I put the stick shift of my little manual transmission in neutral to coast down the long, steep street-slide down into the valley. Michele was on my bumper, cruising right behind me.

Caught up in the moment of fun, I was blinded by the setting sun, driving too fast and not paying attention to the flashing lights and RAILS that had lowered as I was flying down the hill. A loud train whistle blew as I neared the bottom of the hill, jarring me from the haze.

I was too close.

Going too fast. With a car on my tail.

There’s no way I had time to stop.

I hit my brakes hard and braced myself for impact from either the train or Michele.

Neither happened.

Somehow my car stopped on a dime… and Michele’s did too.

We got out of our cars knowing without a doubt that angels were among us. There was no way we both could’ve stopped that quickly and avoided both the train and a collision between us. The whistle was the warning. It saved my life by bringing awareness to the danger before me. Because of the whistle warning, and divine intervention, I was saved.

Psalm 95 is both a call to wild worship and a wearisome warning. It’s a tale of two hearts. God is the majestic Maker of the Sea, full of mystery and might. And He is the holy, righteous Father who speaks honest about the disappointment He feels and consequences He hands out when we, His children, harden our hearts, quarrel, test and try Him.

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
 

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

(Psalm 95:7a)

The shift from worship to warning happens in the second half of verse 7. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Psalm 95:7-8) Great lessons can be learned from history if we are open to receive them. Jesus often said the similar phrases, He who has eyes to see, let him see, and He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Warnings like this can keep us significantly safer than flashing lights and wailing train whistles.

I want to be a woman who has eyes to see and ears to hear. Not a woman with a hardened, stubborn heart.

I want to be so convinced of God’s love for me that I trust Him, turn to Him and yield to every Holy Spirit woo and warning.

So I commit fresh to take heed of warnings and pray for a softened heart. I ask Him again to guide my ways and keep me from danger; body, soul and mind.

And I choose today to worship wild the Rock of my salvation (v1), our great God, the King above all gods (v3). Let’s sing for joy, shout aloud (v1), bow down in worship and kneel before our Maker (v6).

Dear Lord,
Thank You for the ways Your Word warns and woos. Help me to be teachable and thankful today
 and to live in whole-hearted response of Your greatness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION AND RESPONSE

Read Psalm 95.

Is there an area in your heart or life that you sense the Holy Spirit warning you about? If yes, what can you do about it? Send me your response as a comment on the wall of my blog or in a DM on Instagram.

Love doing life with you guys!

GWEN


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Comments 3

  1. Hello as I type I realize I don’t even know what to say. I’ve been a Christian since my teen years and now at 53, I realize I don’t know how to know when God is speaking to me or trying to get through to me. I pray, but I’m not good at it. I read my devotional and Bible, but not sure I always understand. I’m saddened and confused and want to know how to hear him. How to know where he’s leading me. If it’s him guiding me or just my own thoughts steering me. I don’t know what to do. And I feel so sad. I want to hear him. I want to know what to do in these bad times I keep having. I don’t know what to do.

  2. Gwen, I have just very recently asked Jesus into my heart and life. In looking back, there have actually been a few instances where He has stepped in to save my life — once back when I was in my early 20’s I had driven to a small town not far from my home town to visit a girlfriend, and as I left her town to go home, I had a very bad accident with the car my Dad fixed up for me to use for going to college, etc. — I lost control of the car, fish-tailed and veered across to the opposite shoulder of the road. I remember saying out loud, God, please, help me. The car rolled over about 3 or 4 times and the driver’s door finally flew open and I was thrown out. I woke up kneeling in the ditch. The first people who stopped was a police officer and his wife on their vacation. He ran down the deep ditch and helped me over to the wreck and told me to bend over and drape myself over the hood of the car — I’d be able to breath easier and rest. He made all the necessary calls for ambulance and police, and got my girlfriend to the site to help to calm me down. Thankfully, there had been no other cars on the highway!! I looked back at my car — the roof was flattened to the body of the car, and there was absolutely no glass left in any of the windows — it was all around like little bits of ice. After being taken by ambulance back to the hospital in my home town, it was established that I only had cracked ribs, several little nicks and cuts, and lots and lots of black and blue bruises. I was in hospital for about a week. I had been very, very lucky to come out of that alive!! I had seen articles in the paper since, where people had lost control of their cars, rolled, but did not survive. There was another time just recently when I was going to see a lady about learning how to do Swedish Weaving — I had trouble with my car, and in going around a big merge of highways, with a huge transport truck on my left, the steering went stiff and I could hardly turn the steering wheel!! I thought if I don’t get the car turned around that merge I would be in a collision with that truck. All of a sudden I was around the merge, and I found a safe place to pull over, and realized just what happened. I called CAA and the lady, that I wouldn’t be there that day to see her. Again looking back there have been these two and others where the Lord had helped me, and actually saved my life!! But I was not paying attention. There had been several things in my life that I had to attend to, medical tragedies of family members, trying to save my marriage, and the death of my husband from cancer, that I thought had taken priority in my life and I was lost and overwhelmed by them. I fell into a pit of depression, but had lots of time to finally “join the dots”. I have a lot of love and gratitude and thanks to give to the Lord, who stood beside me in those instances, to get me through. There are a lot of things that can occur in our life, but I’ve found I need to keep my focus, on the One who, when we fall or find need, He picks us up and dusts us off, and sets us back in the right direction. Blessings, Trish.

  3. Dear Gwen,

    Thank you for your beautiful testimony. I so believe in the salvation of Jesus and his team of angels. Please help me to witness to my son Tyler, age 25. He is so logical and smart. His heart is hardening and I don’t know how to reach him for fear that he will shut the door if I push too hard. Please pray for the perfect time for me to witness to him.

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