One morning several years ago, I received a shocking wake-up call. I was in a hurry to get to work when my preschool-aged daughter, Sammy, lying on the couch in the family room, caught me just before I reached the door and yelled, “Daddy! Would you find Barney for me on the TV?” My first thought? Sorry kid—I’m late, and I’m outta here! But I hesitated, decided to be a good daddy, and took an extra minute to find the channel for Barney the purple dinosaur before flying out the door. I jumped in my little red Chevy Nova and raced onto the blacktop road in front of our house—only to see a huge semi-truck lying on its side a hundred yards from our house. The accident had just happened. The driver, having clambered out of his cab, was talking to a bystander in a pickup truck, who was calling the police. Then the driver was on the phone with the police, explaining how he lost control of his rig while swerving to miss a deer. I was completely shaken—my life could have been over that morning had I not taken a minute to be a good father to my daughter. I envisioned an accident between a semi-truck and a little red Nova—the Nova lost. I reflected on this wake-up call for a long time afterward.
A dear missionary friend wrote about a wake-up call in her own life. Just a week after returning to her country of service in southeast Asia, a 25-year-old friend of hers, whom I’ll call Ruth, was killed in a truck accident, leaving behind a husband and two small sons. The news caused my own friend to fear God in her own life, realizing that she hadn’t the slightest idea when God would take her home. I was moved by her challenge:
If you have something you need to do now—do it now! If you want to serve God, decide to serve him now! If you want to draw close to God—draw close to him now! If you need to repent—repent now! If you need to love those who oppose you—love them now! Tell those who are not loveable that you love them. Everything that you do you must do it with a pure heart and a heart that loves God because time will not wait for you. We don’t know when God is going to take us or when Christ is going to return!
When I read her wake-up call, two phrases jumped off the page at me: “we don’t know when” and “do it now.” At times I am tempted to postpone things that the Lord is prompting me to do, but these seven words motivate me to action. Whatever I need to do—I need to do it now.
Question: What do you need to do now?
“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”