I thought throughout the day of the various “alarm clocks” I have had in my life—the gentle touch of a mother shaking me awake for school, the hand of a husband pulling me into a warm embrace a few minutes early, the cry of an infant letting me know he was hungry whether I was ready to get up or not! I remember when those cries turned into coos and laughing as those same babies woke and played quietly in their cribs before the hunger pains set in. Wonderful alarm clocks indeed.
Alarm clocks are not just for waking us in the morning. Alarm clocks for the soul have a much more serious job. I can remember moments in my life when a word was said, a scripture was read, or a thought from a deep meditation suddenly blared in my heart as loudly as any alarm clock on the bedside table. In one moment I knew I needed to make a change in my life, and I needed to do it quickly.
Keith has gotten so deaf that he can no longer hear an alarm clock. We bought one designed especially for the hearing impaired—the “Sonic Boom and Earthquake Alarm Clock.” He needs it for the few times a year I am not at home to hear for him. Even though the extra loud “sonic boom” alarm would have me plastered to the ceiling, he still cannot hear it, so he uses the “earthquake” part of the clock. A plastic disk about four inches in diameter lies beneath the mattress. When the clock reaches the set time, this pad begins to vibrate—not just a little massage, but a pulsing shake that can take your breath away. In fact, the company told us to lie on the bed and try it out while we were awake the first time. They had too many customers come close to a heart attack when their first experience with it came while they slept.
Sometimes it takes a good hard shake like that to wake us up. We are too good at rationalizing and too poor at applying the scriptures to our own lives. “But I didn’t mean…” “But it’s not the same thing as…” “But I would never do that…” escapes our lips too often for it to really be true.
The best alarm clock your soul can have is a trusted brother or sister in the Lord who is not blinded by his or her friendship with you, and whom you trust to tell you the truth for your own good, even when you don’t want to hear it. Far better to have a one of those than have the Lord send you an earth shaking event to wake you up. Neither a sonic boom nor an earthquake for the soul will be pleasant.
Get yourself an alarm clock and set it. Then listen for it.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, Rom 13:11-12.