Joel 2:13 Come back to the Lord your God, because he is kind and shows mercy. He doesn’t become angry quickly, and he has great love.
I suppose one of the things I love the most about summer is that long days and very active schedules provide for many necessary diversions. And oh how those diversions, those varieties in our attention make time fly. Every summer I end up saying with a sigh…”Where did the summer go, it just flew right by.” Maybe you feel the same as we come to the close of another beautiful summer.
This summer, living in a new community, with new things to see, many things grabbed my attention. Although my time off was a combination of stay-cation / vacation, I found myself astounded while exploring the natural beauty of the area. I found my way to Long Level Marina outside of Wrightsville and witnessed all the varieties of recreational boating, and great picnic activity. Making my way down the Susquehanna on route 441, I experienced with intrigue, the river culture that many from this area seldom take the time to see. I also witnessed the spectacular views and scattered rock formations on the Susquehanna River while crossing the Holtwood Bridge in Southern Lancaster County. I have sat on a boat and enjoyed the still and lovely waters at Codorus State Park near Hanover. I have seen the rolling orchards surrounding the outskirts of Gettysburg. Closer to home, I am always overwhelmed and awestruck by the beauty of the Amish farms and farmettes along Route 23 and beyond. Not to forget the Charm of Mount Gretna; and the Gothic Architecture of the Early American iron works village called Cornwall. By now I sound like a salesman for tourism in South Central PA. In so many way South Central Pennsylvania has grabbed my attention.
Other things grabbed my attention on my vacation as well. In fact, just a day after my first vacation, while driving I was hit by a truck on route 283. My car was totaled and I had a concussion and symptoms of severe whiplash and had to be taken by ambulance to the ER. Events that happen with such impact and suddenness always grab our attentions. Our lives flash before us and we begin asking the “what if” sort of questions which are in no way unusual as we are again starkly reminded of our mortality. We reckon with the fact that in an instant at lighting speed life can change for us.
I’ve come to believe as I have matured that God will use all sorts of stuff to grab our attention. And when it comes to God choosing between my eternal safety (security) and my earthly comfort God is more interested in shaping my eternity. And thus God will sometimes move someone to another land (as he did Abraham?) He will call someone out of retirement (remember Moses?) And sometimes to grab someone’s attention he will use the voice of an angel or the bowel of a fish (a’ la Gideon and Jonah.) And how about a promotion like Daniel’s or a demotion like Samson’s?
God will do what it takes to get our attention. Isn’t that the consistent message of the whole of Scripture? The relentless pursuit of God. God on the hunt. God in the search. Peeking under the bed for hiding kids, stirring the bushes for lost sheep. God desires to grab your attention.