News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Eddie Scheler

Listening to God when facing storms in life

I spent last week on a Carnival Cruise ship attending a church conference. It was quite a sacrifice, but "somebody's got to do it!"

Of course, getting hit by a barge in the Mississippi River added extra fun — but it really didn't alter our voyage.

What did alter my trip was our church conference Friday morning on the ship. After the main speaker finished, we turned our hearts and minds to worship. The technicians had to work out a few audio difficulties, but before long we began our closing worship.

Then it happened. It was about halfway through the service, just before we started a hymn, when the captain began an announcement over the ship's loudspeaker. Without hesitation we started the hymn, and none of us heard a word the captain said.

Now, maybe the captain was just speaking formal words of goodbye and pitching Carnival Cruise Lines for our next vacation (I mean conference).

But because we were in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, it hit me that he could have been making a life-changing or possibly a lifesaving announcement — which would have done us no good because we were already busy doing what we had planned to do.

I wonder how many times we have said, "I wish God would tell me what to do. I wish God would just write it on the wall." Yet at the same time, we don't actually stop doing what we had already planned to do long enough to actually listen to God and look for his handwriting. It might not be on the wall, granted. But it might very well be clear in the words of the Bible, in the counsel of a friend, or even in our own hearts if our hearts are not too busy and cluttered to hear what The Captain, Jesus Christ, is saying to us.

In fact, as much as I love worship, I couldn't help but wonder how many times we get so caught up in the mechanics of worship that The Captain can't get through there either.

God's point is this: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). A good response from us is this: "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:9).For me this is easier said than done. However, I also know that in those moments of closeness with The Captain, there is nothing greater than hearing him say, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me" (John 14:1).

Those are pretty good words to hear whether you're facing a storm on a cruise ship or a storm in life.

The Rev. Eddie Scheler, pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for The Daily. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468.

Rev. Eddie Scheler Rev. Eddie Scheler

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