The other day, I was in my bedroom, working out to an exercise video. Normally, Rosie goes into Ken’s office with him while I workout. However, this particular morning, Ken was working remotely, and knowing how much Rosie hates being left alone, I let her come in the room with me. It didn’t take long for me to realize I had made a big mistake…
A few minutes into the routine, Rosie began whimpering. As my exercise ratcheted up, so did Rosie’s antics. She whined, she nudged, she scratched (do you know hard it is to plank while a dog is raking her claws against your bare leg?). I had just taken her outside before heading upstairs, so I knew that wasn’t the issue.
Rosie is a very needy dog, always wanting to be the center of attention, always needing a companion, always shoving a toy at everyone who walks by, so this was not totally unexpected behavior, but still…
I kept pushing her away and telling here to go lay down, but she was becoming more and more agitated. When the video ended, and I turned off the television, I heard the chirping of a smoke detector, signaling that the battery was dying. At the sound, Rosie raced down the hall. I stood in the middle of the hall, listening, as she paced up and down the hallway. After a few minutes, I identified the bedroom, rather, Rosie identified it by scratching at the door, whining and whimpering. As I climbed on the stepladder, Rosie circled the bedroom. When I accidentally hit the test button, she raced, full-speed, down the stairs, around the corner, and ran smack into the French doors on the other side of the house (my best guess, judging by the speed, direction, and sounds). Thankfully, she and the doors were okay. I replaced the battery, and all was well. I then took Rosie outside for a little bit until she finally calmed down.
Phew. What a way to start the day.
In thinking about Rosie’s antics, I came to two conclusions:
1. Nobody in our house will ever sleep through a fire alarm as long as Rosie is alive.
2. We often don’t go about doing the right thing or going to the right person when an alarm sounds.
We are constantly roused by alarms–in the media, in church, in conversations with friends, at PTA meetings and parent conferences, on sports fields and sidelines, in our cars, and countless other places. Our mind and body pick up on signals, chirping in our brains, warnings that we should or should not do something, say something, prepare for something. It’s how we handle those warnings, those faint chirps from down the hall, that makes a different in our lives.
The way I see it, there are three ways to deal with warning signs: ignore them, freak out about them, or address and heed them, asking for help from the right person when necessary.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a worrier. If something is bothering me, I take it up with the person causing the worry, and/or I take it to God. I lay down my worries at His feet and ask Him to shoulder them, to take care of them, to replace the batteries in the chirping smoke detector (metaphorically, of course).
We live in a world where everyone is sounding the alarm, but few people are looking to the One who can stop the chirping. Rosie knew that I could stop the noise. She begged me, cried, pleaded, and even reached out to touch me, doing all she could to get my attention. She didn’t give up or give in or turn away from me. Even a dog knows that her master can make everything right.
Why, in a world full of pain, suffering, dishonesty, killing, poverty, and all other ills, would we ever turn from our master? Why would we ever stop asking, stop pleading, stop reaching out for help? There are those who will tell you that the only god lies within you and that you are your own power and redeemer. There are those who will tell you that only people can solve the problems we face. There are those who will tell you that prayer is wasted time when action is needed. But what action? How do we know the right thing to do, the right thing to say, the right course to follow?
Only through prayer, through asking God for help and guidance, through reaching out to the One who is our refuge, can we stop the alarms and bring peace and quiet to our world.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
So, the next time the alarm sounds, do not ignore it, do not panic over it, but seek a way to quiet it by turning to God who alone “is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Lay down your burdens at His feet. Ask Him for comfort, for wisdom, or for help. Cry out to Him for mercy or strength. Reach up for His helping hand or consoling heart, or infinite wisdom. In a world where everyone is turning on each other, let us instead, turn to God. Only He can quiet the alarms.
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Hero Worship and the Making of True Leaders .
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, is based, in part, on her family history and is garnering many five star reviews.
Book Three of the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, is now available! Order your copy today of the “book that was a joy to read!”- Ann on GoodReads.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).