December 15 & 16, 2012
A church bell in my neighborhood rings throughout the day, and if you’re attentive, you realize it rings not just on the hour, but every 15 minutes. Often, I’m not aware of the bells because they’ve become part of the on-going background noise of my life … a symphony of birds, jet engines, lawn equipment, road traffic, cell phone, television, and chatter in my head. It’s usually early morning or late evening, when my distractions are at their lowest, that I am able to tune in and hear those bells. This particular church tower crisply and beautifully sounds the Westminster chime, made famous by the Big Ben Tower in London. Words to accompany the melody were written by Handel: “Lord through this hour, be Thou our guide. So, by Thy power no foot shall slide.”
When I was in parochial elementary school, we students were allowed to interrupt the teacher every hour, on the hour, in order to pray and “bless the hour.” To be totally frank, at the time, I didn’t “get it.” I didn’t see any value in asking God to be part of my day, let alone each hour. Instead, I welcomed it as a longed-for distraction from the daily grind of classwork. My spiritual default status was to operate like a solo pilot, relying on my own self-sufficiency and my can-do attitude. But, looking back at some of my choices, I can say there wasn’t much to be proud of.
So what has changed? As I said, pre-awakening, I really had no sense of my need for God. But, I also had no idea He actually cared deeply about the details of my life. At a particularly low point, I cried out to God asking Him to show me who He is. When I finally understood He was always showing me who He is, and as I paid attention to how and what He was actually showing me, my life changed and has never been the same. So now those chimes and that melody are a beautiful reminder of how much I need God throughout every day, and how faithfully God helps me.
How about you? Are you in tune with your need for God? Do you allow His Holy Spirit to direct your words as you interact with family, coworkers, cellmates, drivers, neighbors, sales clerks, and pedestrians? Do you realize his holy word, the Bible, offers you great advice as you make decisions about your job, finances, relationships, emotions, and other details of daily life? Have you read any of His messages today? Have you shared your concerns about today’s problems with Him?
Today, in fact, right now, ask Him to be your guide for the next 60 minutes. You have a choice: You could go with the flow and not acknowledge His right to be sovereign in your life. Or you could admit that your own decisions aren’t ideal and need some work. Let the Lord of the universe take control for even a fraction of your day and see if He doesn’t prove Himself worthy of your trust. As you see God answering your prayer, your trust in Him and your relationship with Him will grow exponentially. Let Him guide you or do it on your own is your decision, so choose well.
O Loving God, For so long I have relied on my own thoughts and judgments, but life did not go as I planned and didn’t get any easier. I want so much to have joy and peace throughout every day. I’ve forgotten about You but I have a desire to turn that around. For these next 60 minutes, I am asking You to be my guide, to show me the way to handle the people and situations You put around me. This is a big step but I’m trusting You to guide me each step of the way. I trust You so much that I’m saying “Thank You” right now for what You are about to do for, through, and in me. I pray in the name of the One who trusted You to the very end, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42