Growing Your Faith

Warning Signs

Warning Signs

by Lori Hartin on January 29, 2018

"I will listen to what God the Lord will say. For He will speak peace to His people, to those who are right with Him. But do not let them turn again to foolish things." -Psalm 85:8, NLV

I could hear honking long before I came to a complete stop at the red light and wondered what the commotion was about. I soon saw—inside the inside turn lane, a man in a pickup was hauling a huge church pew. One end was plastered with duct tape, and the ghastly red seat cushion was loose. The pew hung off the end of his truck bed, without a flag hanging to warn drivers behind him of his haul. To his credit, he was using heavy-duty ratchet straps to tie down the pew.

But the straps had come loose, dragging on the ground and putting on a sparkly show as he drove from stoplight to stoplight. By the time he had been through three intersections, the straps were flapping wildly, and the loose seat cushion was threatening to take flight.

All I could think was the pew was going to need a lot more than duct tape after this ride.

Neighboring cars liberally used their horns to no avail. Two lanes over, a truck driver waved his arms animatedly to get the driver’s attention. Nothing worked, not even the terrible sound the ratchet straps made as they repeatedly hit the asphalt of the road. When we were side-by-side at the next stoplight, even I rolled down my window and tried yelling to get his attention. I’ve never seen a more focused driver—focused only what was immediately in front of him, instead of everything that he stood to lose.

I eventually turned onto a side street, so I don’t know the end game. But I am certain he couldn’t have made it much farther without disaster. I thought of the damage a pew flying out of a truck could cause. Beyond the destruction of the pew itself, there would’ve been danger for any driver following the truck, damage to curbs and plants from nearby greenbelts, and then of course whatever beating the truck was going to endure from the flying straps and what might be left of the pew and its cushion…all of which could be avoided if the driver were simply aware of his surroundings.

Seeing the concern on other drivers’ faces, he could’ve made a quick stop to secure the pew, then proceed to his intended destination. Instead, he chose to concentrate only on what was immediately in front of his eyes. He blocked out the warning sounds, the advice, the attempts to prevent a disaster.

How many times have we done that? We’re so focused on getting what we want, making it happen according to our terms, that we don’t heed any of the messages that God sends through loving people. We simply want to get there.

But then the inevitable disaster arrives. And then as we survey the costly damage to our lives, we wonder where were all the warning signs? They were back at the stoplights. We just didn’t pay attention to the honking. The waving arms. The yelling.

I want to remember this the next time I’m too focused on what’s ahead to pay attention to God has entrusted to me now.