Sunday, January 13, 2013

God's warning signs

I'm writing this blog based on an experience I had just last night, so it's all very fresh in the mind and therefore a good time to write about it. I spent yesterday in Taupo for a wedding between two amazing friends of mine whom I love and respect immensely. It was a rather busy few days for me as I had the wedding to attend as a groomsman on the Saturday, plus I had to work on Sunday morning straight afterwards. I stayed for the reception and left to drive back home to Tauranga about 9:30pm. The drive was expected to take about 2 and a half hours.

By this stage I was running on little sleep from the night before as well as being very tired due to working the full week, driving to Taupo straight after work on Friday and being busy with the wedding all day Saturday so I was pretty severely tired and very much looking forward to my own bed. Just over halfway into the journey I found myself driving faster and faster to the point where I was hitting corners much faster than I usually do. It was at this point I felt God begin to speak to my heart in a still, small voice -

"Graham, you're driving much too fast - slow down."

So of course, my reply being rather cocky as I know the road so well, not to mention overtired, was the following -

"I'm fine, I know what I'm doing, I can handle this! I just want to get home as soon as possible so I can sleep!"

God's response was this -

"You'll be lucky to get home at all if you keep driving the way that you are."

I ignored God's response and found myself in a corner where I noticed the weight notably shift in the car to the point where I was almost losing traction. However, I reassured myself once again with "I got this!!" and continued powering ahead.

Sure enough, just a couple of corners down the road I found myself approaching the corner much too fast and trying to turn my highbeams down as there was a car coming the other way. Being overtired and trying to multitask I decided to just put my foot on the brakes as hard as possible. I felt the tyres lock up and the entire car start sliding towards the other side of the road. Fortunately, I've spent many an hour playing drift racing and driving simulator games on the Playstation, so I knew exactly what to do and counter-steered into the skid while pumping the brakes. The car started skidding in the other direction so I did the same thing again all the time with my foot off the accelerator so I was slowing down. Despite a few wild weaves all over the place I managed to straighten up, regain traction and continue on my merry way, albeit slightly shaken!!

I learned something through all of this - and not just about not driving when severely overtired. God warned me - clearly - and I ignored Him because I didn't like what He was saying and felt I didn't need His warning because I was in control. Next thing I know I am faced with a potentially life-threatening situation where I could easily have been killed if I were less capable when it comes to driving a car. I certainly couldn't have blamed God if I had crashed and been seriously injured or killed, or hurt someone else - all He'd simply say was "I warned you."

God doesn't warn us of things because He wants to spoil our fun. He warns us because He loves us and doesn't want us to make stupid mistakes. There are also times when God blocks off paths to us so that we are simply unable to walk them because He knows that path would ruin us and He loves us too much to let that happen. However, there are times when God takes His hand off situations and though He does warn us, He will not rescue us from the consequences of our own actions and will allow us to face the consequences of the disobedience of ignoring His direct and clear warning.

When a bridge is out on a roadway and therefore very dangerous, assuming it hasn't just recently happened there are almost always clearly stated warnings around saying that the bridge is out and that we cannot proceed further because it is dangerous. Sometimes there can even be barriers up to stop us. But a sign can only show us the way - it can't make us walk in it. We are free to ignore the sign if we so choose but we are placing ourselves in very serious danger. Even if there are barriers up, if we are determined we can still find a way through or around them. The sad part of this story is that eventually we are going to come face to face with that destroyed bridge at full speed and face the consequences of flying over the end of it.

God's warnings are the same. His warnings are clear, and direct, and should always be acknowledged and never ignored - but we can ignore them if we choose to and continue to plow into corners much faster than we should be and find ourselves losing control and nearly in the paths of oncoming traffic. God knew that I wouldn't listen to Him. Fortunately, I was not killed as a result of my ignorance. I could have been made to pay very heavily for my disobedience but I was lucky to escape with my life.

Over the past few months, God has impressed upon me very strongly that I needed to warn some people of their actions and that they needed to change their ways or they would find themselves in a lot of trouble.It hurts when you feel God has called you to warn someone about something and they ignore the warning and continue to charge ahead - seemingly without consequences. A person's warning to another person can often be completely unfounded and very easily ignored, and sometimes their warning is just based on their desire to achieve their own emotional gratification so the warning should not be taken seriously. However - there are times when God makes it very clear to someone that they need to warn another person about what they are doing and uses that person's voice to speak to them. Their warning can be ignored - but to ignore that is to ignore God's voice through them which can have very serious consequences.

God sends out loud warning signs if we are prepared to listen but sometimes He knows that we never will and will stubbornly continue doing what we are doing, regardless of what He says. I believe God then looks upon those who refuse to heed his warnings with both frustration and pity - frustration that they refuse to listen to what's best for them and pity that they are missing out on God's best because they can't get over their own stubbornness. God's mercy and forgiveness are always available to those who ask - even those who have deliberately ignored His warning - but the consequences of their disobedience will always be there.

It hurt me a lot when I felt that my warnings were ignored, but I now realize from my experiences last night just how costly (and almost deadly) ignoring the voice of God can be just because you don't like what it's saying, or for that matter, who is saying it (if God has chosen to use a person to speak through). I used to get so angry at feeling that every route was so strongly blocked off in my life to the point where I couldn't take them - even if I wanted to. Now I realize that although I often felt like the biggest loser on the planet, God was keeping me from things (and people) that would have been incredibly destructive and potentially had life-long consequences. Better a bit of pain from being belted with the rod of discipline than seeing the rod spared and one's entire life being destroyed as a result.

So my word to you is - listen. If you know in your heart, below all of your pride that God is warning you - listen and obey. Even if you don't like what He's warning you about - listen and obey anyway. Or you could have ended up like I (almost) did - or worse.

Take care.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your concern bro. Sometimes God warns us through others' mouth but He loves to speak in us more often than we expected.