In the mornings I attempt to spend some time on the eliptical machine in the gym in my office building. I usually set the machine in reverse mode so that every five minutes it prompts me to reverse direction for two minutes. When the five minutes is just about up, the machine beeps and then displays a message that says "Prepare to Stop and Change Direction." It is a nice clear warning that is pretty hard to miss so that you are not surprised when the machine forces you to stop a few seconds later.
I was thinking about that this morning and how nice it would be if there were similar nice, clear, direct warnings in life. Instead, it seems like things often change direction on a dime and I'm caught unprepared. Often, though certainly not always (I think that sometimes life really does change directions without warning - but that is for another time), when I look back, I see that there were warnings - plenty of times that God tried to get the message to me and I wasn't looking, or I wasn't listening, or I didn't like what I was seeing or hearing and ignored it. As I said to a friend this weekend, I miss a lot, but when God wants to make sure that I get a message, He has a way of hitting me over the head so that I can't miss it.
Each morning I pray that as I go through the day God will give me the ears to hear Him and the eyes to see Him and the strength, hope, wisdom and faith to listen and follow. Still, though, I continue to miss Him on a regular basis. I know He is there, but I'm too caught up in whatever it is that seems important at the moment as opposed to what really is important. Thankfully, I know that God is patient with me. As He said to Moses "'The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.'" Exodus 34:6-7. I just pray that with practice I will get better at seeing the warning to prepare to stop and change direction before He has to hit me over the head to get the message across.