I have this helpful app on my BlackBerry called WeatherBug. Not only does it keep me appraised of current weather conditions and the upcoming week’s forecast, it also gives me an attention-grabbing little alert sound when there is a weather statement, alert, watch, or warning.
This week WeatherBug has led me to two very, very different thought processes. So, I’ll share them in two separate blog posts – one today, and a second one to come on Friday.
The weather notifications from WeatherBug are handy since we don’t have a tornado siren here in town, nor do we always have great tv access or reliable internet connection when the weather is less than pleasant. But, despite the helpfulness of the alerts, sometimes they get a little old.
Over the last month or so of winter, we had some pretty nasty winter weather. It seemed that every time I turned around there was another freeze warning, winter weather watch, winter weather warning, and so on and so forth. We got to the point of being rather complacent and unconcerned about each new alert because there were so many of them.
Then came the severe spring weather. First we had unending tornado and thunderstorm watches. Then flash flood watches. Then unending warnings as the mess came through. Since the storms, every time the tiniest measurement is adjusted with the flooding updates, there is a new alert – and that happens very frequently.
I must confess there have been times I’ve been tempted to turn off the alerts. But, it is springtime, we live in tornado alley, and winter and spring have both been severe for Arkansas. So, I keep the alerts on. And, even though I’m pretty sure each new alert is a flood update with very slight changes, I still read the alert. Just in case.
How often do we receive spiritual alerts like that? We hear the same things over and over and over again with great frequency and only minor variations. Sometimes we can be tempted to skip hearing it again simply because we know we’ve heard it a million times already. We are sure it’s the same old thing.
But there are a couple of things we need to realize. First, although it might not be greatly noticeable, there are frequently little things in what we hear that are new. Little bits of information we didn’t know before. A slightly new discovery. It might be so wrapped up in the familiar that we don’t recognize it, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t learning.
Secondly, though, when we “turn off our alerts,” so to speak, simply because it’s a repetition, we often miss the fullness of new that God sends our way. The new lessons, warnings, and opportunities that come when we are diligent to allow what we already know to continually be refreshed in our hearts and minds.
Paying attention to even the most repetitive of weather alerts has done a couple of things for me. First, it has reminded me to continually pray for those still in the middle of the mess, whether the flooding or the tornado damage. I’ve been able to continue on with my life, but so many others haven’t. I need to remember them.
Secondly, it has kept me alert to what’s going on so that when a new weather situation comes through, I catch it. I receive and process the alert. I am not taken off guard by heavy winds or sporadic thunderstorms.
If God is repeating something in our lives, there’s a reason. May we train our hearts to listen as willingly to the repetitive as the new, knowing that the more we heed the repetitive, the less likely we are to miss the new.