Betty J. Slade

 

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    Understanding the Disturbance

    I asked my Sweet Al if I created a disturbance in life. He did not hesitate to answer, “You are a disturbance. You throw tacks in people’s beds.”

    “Does that mean I cause people to lose sleep?” I laughed. Humor always helps me to dodge bullets when Al’s gun is loaded and he’s looking for a target. Only this morning, he prefaced his words with, “You might get mad if I tell you.”

    I quickly responded, “Then don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear it.”

    Did I really need to hear how I throw tacks in people’s beds and keep them up at night? Besides, I’m trying to source the reason for my own sleepless nights.

    I was convicted by a certain scripture that had been troubling me for days and I felt like I had to do something about it. “If my people, called by my name, will humble themselves and pray … I will hear their prayer and heal their land.”

    As his people called by his name, we need to do what we are told. We need to humble ourselves and pray, and then see God heal our country. I felt confident that I had heard from heaven. I waved my banner, lifted my hand and said, “I’ll do it.”

    Al often tells me that I don’t always have to be the one in the front row raising my hand. Let someone else answer when heaven calls. But I couldn’t rest.

    I decided to started an online prayer group, similar to another one that I attend each week, to pray for our country. I had my son set up a video hosting application on my computer then told my Sweet Al what I planned to do.

    His response, “Another long weekly phone call? I’m not thrilled with this harebrained idea, but if you must, you must.”

    “I must.”

    I set up the online meeting for a specific time each week, then sent out invites to a circle of friends. I pressed down hard. I told the invitees that I had heard from God and felt like we needed to humble ourselves and pray. I was excited by receiving several responses and just knew we were on our way.

    I heard from God all right. Monday night, an electrical storm shot lightning through our house. Sparks flew and fried everything from the phone connection box outside to the wireless modem inside. Our telephone and Internet were out — we had no outside communications. I had caused quite a disturbance rallying so many people to join my online prayer group, and now it looked like I would have to find a way to backtrack. I had to let everyone know that I wouldn’t be online, but how?

    The phone company didn’t blink an eye when they said they would put us on their schedule — in three weeks. Then they kindly offered us a three-week credit for no service.

    I didn’t want three weeks of credit. I wanted my phone and Internet service. My social life, business, banking, shopping and movie watching comes through the phone. Even my weekly article is carried over the phone lines. This disturbance has started to grow.

    I saw a telephone truck drive down the road. Without a thought, I jumped in the 4Runner and flagged down the technician. After hearing my exasperating plea for help, the technician told me that many other people were without service. He was kind, but told me that I would have to wait my turn for the repair.

    As he got in his truck to leave, the only thing on my mind was to wish for a handful of tacks to throw under his wheels. I wanted to cause him the same disturbance I felt being isolated from the outside world for having my own plans derailed.

    Apparently, I need as much prayer as the country around me does. And since revival starts in the heart, maybe that was something I needed for myself.

    What is it with these disturbances in our lives? Why is it that our best-laid plans only seem to create a disturbance for others when our plans fall apart? How many times have we disturbed others just to get our way?

    The final brushstroke: When something comes from heaven, trust that it will cause a disturbance. Maybe it is because we are not prepared, or because we are not ready to move forward in some way. Answering a call requires us to step out of the quiet, even if it is just a test to see if we are ready to do so. After all, it is in the disturbances where God does his greatest work. Even if it means just being ready while he works on our heart to prepare us for what comes next.

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