The other day I was driving around town, running some errands for work. It was a warm day, but not too hot, and I had my windows down, blasting some country music because that’s pretty much all I listen to in the summer months. As I passed under 6th Avenue, for no reason at all, an old friend came to mind--Preston. I’ve known Preston for about a decade; we met through a mutual friend. I wouldn’t say that he and I are close by any means, but because he’s one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met I would definitely say that we are good friends. It was odd that Preston had randomly popped into my mind because it had probably been about 6 months since we had grabbed a pint at the local pub with our mutual friend Nick. The moment came and went, and I continued on with my drive.
That next morning I logged onto Facebook, and there at the top of the feed, Preston had posted a picture of his family. As I read on, I soon found out that his mother had passed away the day before. I was immediately saddened to hear the news, especially because I knew that Preston’s father had passed just a couple years prior. I was reading through everyone’s comments and then it hit me… my moment in the car just the day before. Preston's mother had breathed her last breathe right around the same time I happened to be driving under 6th Avenue. My heart sank as I stared at the computer, and as the words on the screen fell out of focus, my eyes welled up with water. I sat there in my kitchen, allowing myself to feel the weight of the moment.
I was overcome with emotion for a couple reasons. The first obviously being that an old friend of mine was mourning over the death of a parent. The second reason being that I felt like I had missed out on an opportunity, I missed out on a moment from God. Surely it wasn’t by coincidence that Preston had randomly popped into my head that day. I mean, the timing is simply ridiculous. I hadn’t seen or talked to Preston in over 6 months and all of sudden, the exact same day his mother passes, it’s just too crazy. I have to believe that God was trying to speak to me. I have to believe God was trying to grab my attention so I could reach out to a friend with a simple, “Hey man, thinking about you, hope you’re doing well.” And I feel like I missed it. And that’s a big bummer. I don’t ever want to miss out on what God has for me.
In Hebrews 10, the writer highlights the sacrifice of Christ, where all believers now gain direct access to Him. By His Holy Spirit, we are given this holy closeness which allows us to interact and engage with the creator of the universe. And if you engage with the God of all creation, you better believe He’s going to speak to you every now and again. The writer spells out some directives on how to fill up our time until Jesus returns and I feel like this is a perfect concoction to ready ourselves for those times when God speaks and wants us to move.
1. Let us draw near to God. (v22)
It starts with drawing near to God, setting aside time to read the word, pray, meditate, and listen. Take part of your day to stop everything you’re doing and engage with God. This is a faith builder. Faith and drawing near to Jesus are inseparable. Even more so, I would say that this includes 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Invite Jesus into your everyday, ordinary life. Invite him into your home, into your workplace, into your conversations with others, and even into your car!
2. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. (v23)
Have you ever been driving down the road and took a second to change the radio dial or check a text from your phone, only to look up and realize your car is no longer within the lane? Have you ever missed a turn because you weren’t paying attention? To hold unswervingly means that you are focused 100% of the time. Don’t miss out on what’s right in front of you. If you take your eyes off the road, your might find yourself braking and jerking the steering wheel to get back in your lane, and this will only put you behind schedule. You may even have to take a different route.
3. Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (v24)
4. Let us not give up meeting together…let us encourage one another. (v25)
Make your life about people. God created us to be in community with one another; we aren’t designed to do this by ourselves. Be intentional in the way you care for others. To quote the young Michael Jackson,
“Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter. Togetherness, well that’s all I’m after. Whenever you need me, I’ll be there.”
This may seem small, but it is a discipline. And discipline is rarely easy.
Draw near to God, always. Be sensitive to His voice and His leading. Be strong in your faith and your everlasting hope. Be expectant that He will move. And go out of your way to encounter those around you.
How many times has God tried to speak to me, but I’ve been too dense to get through to? It’s hard to say what I’ve missed out on, but I’ll tell you what, I’m thankful for Facebook. I’m thankful that I happened to log on that day and see that post. I’m thankful that I did get to reach out to Preston and tell him how much I care about him, and that I’m here if he needed anything. Even though I felt like I was a day late and dollar short, it was a good reminder that God will try to capture our attention in the simplest of ways. Open up your eyes and ears; He’s all around. Let us not miss what’s right in front of us.
Dave Anderson is a Worship Ministry Leader at Red Rocks Church in Denver, CO. Born and raised in Colorado, he and his wife love hiking, biking, and apparently home remodeling (their house is forever in a state of being “updated”). Guitars, summer nights, BBQ’s, and time with family and friends pretty much sum up the rest of his hobbies and interests.