It’s one of those rainy days in Houston. As I pulled out of the parking lot at the gym this morning, the automatic lights on my car decided there was quite enough light to keep my headlights turned off. But, what the optics on my little Ford Focus determined didn’t seem particularly intelligent in the semi-light of a rain-spattered world. So, I flipped on my headlights and drove safely home.
By the time I pulled into my garage and switched off the car, my mind had already wandered to a thousand different things, like what I need to do today and the groceries I need to buy for rest of the week. So, when I popped open the car door, I was startled by the warning ding that greeted me. I had my keys in my hand, so it wasn’t a keys in the ignition ding. It only took a half second to remember that I had turned my lights on, overriding the automatic setting. So, I switched the knob back to its correct position and went on with the business of getting into my house.
As I was thinking what a small but important thing that little dinging alarm is, I was wondering how long it took the car manufacturers to add it to our vehicles. Maybe those dings annoy some people, but for many of us they are important reminders to keep us from a much bigger problem, like accidentally leaving your headlights on and draining your battery.
How do we apply the lesson of the simple headlight warning ding to our spiritual life? After all, if we can be distracted enough by the small things in life to forget we turned our headlights on when we started our car ride fifteen minutes ago, how much more can we be distracted by the challenges of day-to-day living that keep us too much in the world and not enough in God’s world?
The only way to be open to the Spirit, who can be our warning system, is to spend time with God. We do this through prayer, reading and studying His Word, and by having fellowship with people who also want to worship and know God.
My warning system this morning included reading about the first Passover in the book of Exodus. It reminded me that Christ as the lamb offered His blood on the Cross so that the wrath of God will pass over those who believe in Him just as it passed over the Israelites who followed God’s instructions when the Egyptians’ first born were taken during the final plague that convinced Pharaoh to release the Israelites from Egypt.
The Passover reading also reminded me that God keeps His promises. He had told Joseph He would return the people to the land of Abraham. 430 years later to the day, God followed through on that promise.
God never changes. The more you read the Bible, the more you will see that the patterns of His relationships with humans are consistent and all lead up to the ultimate fulfillment of His promise in the sacrifice of Christ.
In a world where I can forget I flipped on headlights in the time it takes to drive from point A to point B, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that God is always there and always the same.