This morning I awoke at 9:30am to the sounds of a woman being beaten and attacked. My neighbor (my bedroom wall is connected to one of her rooms) was yelling at the top of her lungs while sobbing, “Get off me! Get off me! Stop!” I must’ve heard the words 20 times before I woke up fully and realized it was real.
Today is Christmas Eve.
I began to think: What could anyone possibly be so angry about on such a joyful day like today? What triggered this man? Is this the first time he’s hurt her? Why do things like this happen anyway? What should I do to help her?
I got up with the intention of calling the police. When I got to my living room, I heard a woman outside my door on the phone with 911 explaining, “he’s beating her face. He’s standing over her…no, they’re inside!” Knowing that the proper authorities were being notified, I did the only other thing I knew to do. I prayed.
It was one of those desperate prayers when you really don’t know what to pray other then “Lord! Please help!”
I read the book, The Shack and it mentions how things we consider “bad” often aren’t necessarily bad, but will rather work out for the greater good of humanity at some point down the line. I know the reasons why this had to happen are layered deeper then I can trace, but I’m pretty sure it starts somewhere way back in Genesis.
After I prayed, the police had arrived and I realized for the first time in a while, I was actually still while talking to God. “Man,” I thought, “it’s been a minute since I just sat & talked to you!”
Anthony Evans has a song that I love called “I Choose Now.” I think I may have blogged about it once before, but the lyrics still sing my heart’s song.
I don’t want tragedy to be the only thing that leads me to Your throne.
With every moment of my life
pain or joy
I will cry, you are God alone
You’ve given me the joys to kneel and walk away,
I struggled with surrender long enough to say
I choose now,
to be humbled by your presence
I choose now,
to fall on my face
cause one day, every knee will bow
but Jesus, I choose Now
How many of us say that God is #1 in our lives? Or that everything we are and do is because of God? Or how about this one! God is my #1 priority in life! Really?
So, what does that all mean? What is the quantifiable action that translates the validity of this statement for an individual?
Many say, “well if I wake up and first thing every morning spend 30mins-1hr with God in quiet time, I’m making him a priority.” Is that really true?
A priority is that of greatest importance. I believe that priorities are not determined by the order in which things are done. Making God a priority means making him MOST important throughout the ENTIRE day, not just for a portion of the day.
So how is this done?
God is always with us, it’s just a matter of whether we decide to include him or tune him out. We tune him out all the time. Listening to certain songs, watching television, gossiping, being angry or frustrated…the list goes on.
Now, I’m not saying don’t watch television and don’t listen to secular music. I do both, but I am saying that we have to have a greater consciousness when it comes to the things of God. He’s in our minds 24/7, literally, he’s there! Even when we’re sleeping! So making God a priority could simply be listening to the things in your mind for once.
Usually he’s saying the stuff we resist or try to ignore like, “You see that homeless man on that corner? Run to subway and take him a sandwich.” Or he’s notorious for “Ask so-and-so if they would like to have a relationship with me?” Or how about “Call someone you haven’t talked to in years because of something they did to you and apologize to them even though you weren’t in the wrong.”
Here’s an excerpt from God is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg, a book I HIGHLY recommend you read or listen to (audiobook) as I did:
The “Everywhereness” of God
God is closer than we think. He is never farther than a prayer away. All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger. Every moment—this moment right now, as you read these words—is the “one timeless moment” of divine endowment, of life with God.
The Scriptures are full of what might be called the everywhereness of God’s speaking. “The heavens are telling the glory of God; . . . day to day pours forth speech.”
He talks through burning bushes and braying donkeys; he sends messages through storms and rainbows and earthquakes and dreams, he whispers in a still small voice. He speaks (in the words of Garrison Keillor) in “ordinary things like cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music, and books, raising kids—all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through.”
I’m not sure what happened with my neighbor, but I do know no one was arrested so all I can do is hope and pray that all will turn out better eventually.
I am thankful that at the least God used this unfortunate situation to help shift my perspectives on a lot of things. Some things that I was staying up all night working on are no longer as important as they seemed last night.
It’s time to re-shift my focus & what better day then today? God is ALWAYS present. Lets try today to talk to Him and tune in a little more then usual.