“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:27-30).
Here is a remarkable account of the jailor at Philippi going from near suicide to salvation. While he was literally shaken from physical sleep, he was awakened inwardly to seek the salvation through Christ. This old world of sin can easily put one into a lethargy of false security if one is not sober and vigilant. Consider three types of “wake up calls” that demand spiritual awareness.
- Harm Related. Accidents and acts of violence can truly show how vulnerable human life is. It is written by David, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Ps. 39:4). This is a strange request. Most would ask God to show them where their strength lies, but here David wants to understand the fragile nature of life. Such is truly spiritual-mindedness at best. As a man of war (cf. 1 Chron. 28:3) David was fully aware of death on a battlefield. He knew how quickly life could be gone in a moment while being vigorous in physical strength. War gives a different perspective than peacetime. Accidents also can wake up the inner man. Consider 2 Kings 1:2-4. While people do not always seek the proper source for spiritual healing in times of physical distress, it is still the case that “wake up calls” come.
- Home Related. Homes should be places of refuge and peace (cf. Ps. 128). However, troubles at home can cause the inner man to take new perspective. Eli was awakened to the behavior of his sons. “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress” (1 Sam. 2:22-24). How many families have been shaken inside by the religious, moral and/or ethical divergences from the truth by family? It often hurts the most when the damage is being done by the people who are loved the most. King David’s family was racked with spiritual problems (cf. 2 Sam. 13-18). Due diligence is needed in training “while there is hope” (Prov. 19:18).
- Health Related. Hezekiah was “sick unto death” (Isa. 38:1) and told to set his house in order. He turns to the wall and prays (cf. Isa. 28:2-3). How many people find that great illness brings great introspection? Facing one’s mortality is often avoided until it cannot be avoided. The recovery of health is to be seen as a great blessing as was the case with Hezekiah (cf. Isa. 38:20-39:1). Keeping that spiritual consciousness when given another “lease on life” is not as frequently done (cf. Luke 10:11-19). Job is a great example of spirituality when losing everything from family and possessions to his own health. Truly, even in death it is better to go to the house of mourning that one may lay it to heart (cf. Eccl. 7:2).