“Something Must Be Wrong”

“Something Must Be Wrong”

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Not long ago, I was in another state for a few days. On those rare occasions when I travel without Kathy, our routine is pretty fixed. I will call her at the end of the day to say good night. The next morning, I will wait for her to text me to say good morning (she doesn’t set an alarm clock when I’m away, so I don’t want to wake her up).

During the recent aforementioned separation, we talked during the middle of the evening. She assumed that was our good night call. She came home after going to a Bible study and the grocery store, and I got a Ring notification showing her enter our house. About 90 minutes later, I called to say good night. The call went to voice mail. I texted. Nothing. I tried communicating through Alexa. Nothing. I checked Life360. Her phone had died. So, I went to sleep.

The next morning, I tried reaching her again. Ring showed no motion, not even letting our dog Ollie out. Her phone was still dead. My concern grew! This was unprecedented! Something was wrong! Had she hit her head? Had there been a home invasion?

I texted a good friend who lives nearby, asking him if they could check on her. At 6:15, he stopped by with his daughters on his way to taking them to school. He rang the doorbell several times and even knocked hard on both the side and front doors. Finally, Kathy emerged–she thought it was our youngest son’s truck since our friend’s truck looks very similar. She was unharmed, though embarrassed and unprepared for early morning company!

We found out that morning that there was a minor gas leak in our fireplace which might have coaxed her into a deeper state of sleep. The rest was just coincidence. She thought we’d already said good night. She read for a while, then went to sleep. The next thing she remembered was Jeremy banging on our door. There was plenty of embarrassment to go around.

I thought about this situation and how it illustrates several things.

  • It can take some persistent knocking before some will answer (Rev. 3:20)!
  • It is notable when one who usually can be counted on to respond a certain way does not; it is often a sign that something is wrong. If you missed a church service, would people wonder where you are since it was so unusual–or would they expect it (Heb. 10:24-25)? If you lost your temper or sinned with your tongue, would people think that it was uncharacteristic or par for the course?
  • When we truly love and care about someone, we will persistently try and reach them if we think they’re in trouble (Jas. 5:19-20)!
  • Checking on someone we think is in trouble is to risk embarrassment and an uncertain response.
  • Sometimes, it takes another person to do what we tried but could not do (1 Cor. 3:6-9)!

Fortunately, this is something that Kathy and I can laugh about now. We’ve fixed the leak in our fireplace. Hopefully, this will never happen again. But it is an indelible memory for both of us. It also illustrates that there are circumstances that call for urgency and action! As it concerns the soul, the stakes are eternally higher than the physical. May we take Paul’s words to heart as it concerns our spiritual work: “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:14-16).

Neal Pollard

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