I bought a new car recently. It came with lots of safety features, like a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warning. There is even a voice that tells me when I’m approaching a red light or speed camera. The day after we bought the car, my husband and I were driving on a city street, approaching an intersection, when the voice boomed out over my left shoulder, “Red light camera ahead! Reduce your speed!” While I focused on driving, my husband quickly started pushing buttons looking for a way to turn down the volume of the mysterious voice which had seemingly come from nowhere.
It’s been calmer in the car since the volume was reduced on the “voice of doom,” as I like to call it. It continues to annoy me, though, as it warns of red light cameras even if the traffic light is green and I’m driving at or under the speed limit. It also warns of speed cameras in a school zone near our house, even though we’re only required to reduce our speed in the area if a red light is blinking. It’s summer. School’s out. The lights aren’t blinking. But my car keeps warning me, “Speed camera ahead. Reduce your speed. Reduce your speed.”
We’ve told a few people about the ever-lurking “voice of doom” in our car. People laugh, and then they say, “Is there a way to turn it off?” I’m sure there is—or at least turn the volume down so low we can’t hear it—but at some point that voice may come in very handy. One day, I may be driving down a street I’m not familiar with and I might miss a school zone sign or think I’m close enough to an intersection when a traffic light turns yellow. Knowing there’s a camera ahead that will catch me if I go through the school zone too fast or go through the light too late could keep me from an expensive traffic ticket or a more expensive accident.
So I listen to the voice in my car, even when I’m fully aware of my surroundings and I know I’m doing the right things. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are important laws I should keep in mind and there will be consequences if I don’t.
There are other voices in my life I need to listen to—my conscience, the advice of friends and family, the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to tune them all out. It’s easy to relax and say, “I know what I’m doing. This isn’t going to hurt me.” Usually, I do know what I’m doing. But there’s always a chance that I might make a decision too fast. I might miss a warning sign. I might be distracted by something else in my life and end up in dangerous territory without even knowing how I got there.
That’s why I need to keep listening to the warning voices in my life. Even if they’re annoying. And if you’re ever uncertain about which voice to listen to, when people are giving you conflicting advice and direction, listen to these important words above all the others:
“Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” Isaiah 8:20
What is my mission as an author? It's a tough question, but I believe the goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they really believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.