Tuning Out the Beeps

It’s about 4:30am and I am awaken by an intermittent beep coming from downstairs. As I try to pretend it’s not there, my mind shifts into gear.

Certainly it’s a smoke detector. Battery needs to be replaced. Which one? I think there’s only one left that requires 9-volt. Must be in the office. Do we have a 9-volt battery? I remember seeing one the other day when I was looking for AA batteries. Where was that?

Well, there’s no use trying to go back to sleep, even though I know I could use it.

Hearing the beep reminded me of being a hospital chaplain. Much of my time was spent in the Emergency Room. Each patient had a monitor connected to them and throughout the day there are alarms going off on random monitors. At first I freaked out a little. Are they dying? Should I call someone? Can’t they hear it??? Casually a staff member would walk by and push a button and may or may not look in on the patient. Sometimes it would take minutes before someone would come by. After awhile I realized you get used to it. You barely hear the beep when you are around it so much.

I’ve been to people’s homes where the smoke detector beeps for days, maybe even weeks. They just didn’t get around to changing the battery. They learn to live with the beep.

In our lives we all have “beeps”. Different people will call it what they want, but I am certain it is the voice of the Lord. The Lord speaks wisdom and caution through the Holy scriptures in divine revelation by his Spirit. The Spirit convicts. These are the “beeps” that believers and unbelievers alike turn a deaf ear to. Consider Proverbs 1:23-33:

If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof…
…but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

If instead of a beep from the smoke detector, it was a full on alarm, I would have jumped out of bed immediately. In the ER there are certain alarms that would cause everyone to rush over to the patient. Beeps are there to warn us before things get bad. It tells us that there is a potential for disaster, something is not quite right.

Don’t take lightly the “beeps” that are there to warn you. Change the battery, check your pulse, whatever it is, the beeps are important. Do not wait for disaster to arrive. -jason



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