One day last week, during my morning run (something I like to pretend happens on most days – lol), I was lost in thought. Suddenly, I heard a helicopter overhead and glanced up at it. When I looked up, I saw the most amazing cloud formations. Those clouds were so beautiful that I just had to stop and take a picture! If the noise of the helicopter hadn’t captured my attention, I would have continued on, probably not even noticing the clouds, or at least not until much later.
Having my attention drawn to those clouds caused me to realize that too often I’m going along, minding my own business, caught up in the stress of my day, and I don’t see things that God wants me to notice. Sometimes he has to grab my attention, like the sound of that helicopter did.
I’m not saying that God was necessarily using the helicopter to draw my attention to the clouds, although that may have been the case. There’s just something about noticing and being thankful for the beauty in creation that makes my day! (And I’m sure it makes God happy, too.)
We’re naturally selfish people who focus on ourselves, our problems, our goals, our to-do lists…..but God wants our attention because there are people who need our help, or things he’s done that he wants to remind us about, or he wants to simply call us to slow down and take a few minutes to thank him for everything he’s done and enjoy the moment.
One day, Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and Moses decided to lead them across the desert to Sinai, the holy mountain. 2 There an angel of the Lord appeared to him from a burning bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3 “This is strange!” he said to himself. “I’ll go over and see why the bush isn’t burning up.”
4 When the Lord saw Moses coming near the bush, he called him by name, and Moses answered, “Here I am.”
(Exodus 3:1-4, Contemporary English Version)
God used a burning bush to get Moses’ attention, and then proceeded to explain to him how he would be instrumental in freeing the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Just think: God might grab your attention to give you an important job to do for him!
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, seemingly for no reason. I used to get angry and wonder why I was awake when I should be resting for the busy day ahead. A few years ago I realized that God was waking me up intentionally. Now when this happens, I start praying.
Rise in the night and cry to your God. Pour out your heart like water to the Lord. (Lamentations 2:19, The Living Bible)
In today’s busy world, we don’t pay enough attention. God wants to spend time with us, to point things out to us, to listen to us as we pray to him. Make it a point to take a little time each day this week to just be still and know that he is God.
Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. (Psalm 46:10, The Passion Translation)
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to slow down and pay attention to the things you want me to focus on. Show me today what I can do to help someone, what I can be thankful for, who I can pray for. I want to focus on what is important to you – your Kingdom work -rather than the stresses and trappings of this world. Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me this week, and all you continue to do for me. I couldn’t live one moment of my life without you and your amazing love for me!