Never before have I been witness to such a thing!
After an intense message, the pastor started to bring our Wednesday church service to a close by inviting people to pray. In the middle of asking them to release deep insecurities and wounding to God, the fire alarm went off. Strobe lights flashed. Ear shattering sirens echoed so loud your teeth hurt. And you know what happened?
You know how in movies when the fire alarm goes off in school and all the kids run screaming out of the building?
This was not the case.
No one moved.
It was almost comical that all 300 of us: the pastor, worship team and leaders alike, sat perfectly frozen and seemingly dumbfounded. Instead of doing what the alarm tells us to do (evacuate), we played the music louder and tried to ignore it.
Good news is that it was a false alarm and we didn’t burn up in a fire. No one got trampled to death and the buzzing eventually stopped after an awkward push forward. So after service, I ended talking with two women. Ruby was one of them. She told me that she had been in church most of her life but has approached ministry, people and God half-heartedly. When I asked why, she said she’s always been afraid to get too close but she wanted change. I invited Ruby and her friend to release anxiety and make a statement of faith in God, putting Him in control of their safety. Ruby said she was ready and she and her friend boldly walked away from the darkness of fear and into the light and open arms of Jesus.
As we ended our prayer, Ruby told me that the fire alarm was her turning point. She said when the siren sounded her heart jumped and she realized that at any moment, life could change.
“God could call us into account and what would I say? That I wasn’t ready?”
What most of us saw as annoying and completely disruptive was the flashing trumpet that gave this woman the push of courage she needed to answer the call of God.
I had not seen it this way! In fact, the very thing that I labeled as chaotic was the same thing God appointed to bring order to this woman’s life! The alarm was a reminder that we are not promised tomorrow. Life changes quickly and God or death could catch us unaware at any moment.
This brave woman taught me NOT to wait for the alarm! NOW is the time.
Now is the time to say the words, “I love you.”
Now is the time to share with someone how much they mean to you.
NOW is the time to say “I do” to love, to life and especially (MOST especially) to God.