The Whistle of God

whistling-clipart-mickwhistle1When the high school wrestling coach lives next door to you, there’s a good chance you are going to learn to like the sport.  When he moves out of town, and his house is purchased by the new coach, there’s an even better chance that you’re going to learn a little something about wrestling.

On Friday evening and Saturday night of last week the undivided attention of most sports fans was focused on basketball—not me. I was splitting time between basketball and the NCAA finals in wrestling.

Like many of those muscle-ripped young men with chiseled bodies that reflected hours in the weight room and years  contending on the mats, my son started wrestling when he was 6 years old.  Those kid’s tournaments were loud and noisy with all of the young wrestlers, the screaming parents, and multiple matches running at the same time.

To make sure Wade wasn’t distracted by a false whistle, I gave him some advice:  “Son, You wrestle until you either clearly hear the ref’s whistle or you feel the touch of his hands.”

Wade scored points in some matches because he continued to wrestle when his opponent stopped.   The other boy had heard a false whistle from an adjoining mat, and he quit before the ref halted the match.

When I heard the ref’s whistle on Saturday night, I thought of the message it signaled.  The ears of the wrestlers were tuned to its sound, and they responded in a split second.  Their muscular bodies were like a tensely coiled spring that sprang into action, or they would immediately relax and stop wrestling—all in response to the whistle.

It may surprise you to learn that God also whistles:

“I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before. Though I scattered them among the nations, yet in far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return (Zechariah 10:8-10).”

Some people believe this whistle is a sound that is only  heard and recognized by God’s children.  I equate it with the words of John 10:27-30:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.”

During my Summer breaks from school, I spent very little time inside the house.  I was either playing a game of baseball, wading the creek, or following a trail through a field.  When my stomach told me it was getting close to suppertime, I would begin to listen for Dad’s whistle–it was the signal that said:  “It’s time to come home.”

Some day God will do the same.  He will whistle and call His children home to heaven.

 

Bells, Whistles, and Anniversaries

bells-and-whistles3When I check my phone of a morning, I find an email from Google Calendar, and it reminds of my schedule for that day. When the gas tank in my truck reaches a certain level, the computer in my truck sounds a beep and displays a message on the dashboard. This is a reminder that I can only drive another 50 miles before I run out of gas.

Reminders come in different forms. Some are sounds like bells and whistles; others are anniversaries recorded on the pages of a calendar; and, some can be as a simple as the old string tied to your finger or a note scribbled on the palm of your hand.

The purpose of communion in a church service is to remember—“Do this in remembrance of me,” is what Jesus said when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. The Psalmist knew the importance of reflecting on the goodness of God, and he wrote: “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth (Psalm 105:4-6).”

God even went to extreme measures with some of the more colorful figures in the Bible. Both Jacob and Paul were left with a physical ailment to serve as a reminder of who they once were and where God was taking them.

Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, and the pain in his hip caused him to walk with a limp the rest of his life—a reminder of the presence of God. Paul was pursuing and persecuting Christians like a raving madman until met Jesus on the Damascus Road. This is where I believe Paul received his “thorn in the flesh” that vexed him the remainder of his life.

What reminds you of the goodness of God? I encourage you to take some time over the weekend to pause and remember. Turn off your cell phone; find a quiet spot; read the first six verses of Psalm 105; and, flip through the pages of your mind to reflect, remember and see how God has been present in your life.

As you “remember His marvelous works which He has done,” you will be able to give Him thanks, and the peace of God will find its way into your life.