Of falling birds, belly-up fish and other freaky happenings: How God gets our attention

Let me begin by saying that, yes, I do remember that I promised to talk about what God has brought me through. I am a woman of my word. We’ll get there. But first let’s talk about the headlines.

Seriously, now, who is totally freaked out by all the reports of birds falling dead from the sky by the thousands, of teems of dead fish washing up on shores, of a river that turned bright green, of the earthquakes and floods and other freaky natural disasters? Truly these are interesting times. For many, they’re frightening times.

First, let’s say what all these things are not: These things are not the prophetic events mentioned in Revelation chapters 6 trough 8. Many have speculated to that end, but they are not interpreting Scripture correctly. The prophecies from Revelation 6-8 are judgments that take place during the Tribulation. Though times are trying, and I believe the end times are rapidly approaching, we are not in the Tribulation. Trust me on this.

I believe current events come from the same source – God – but have a different purpose. These bizarre happenings are, I believe, a wake-up call from God. He is trying to get our attention so that, in these days of sin and confusion, people will turn to Him while there is yet time.

God sometimes allows horrific events to darken our lives just for that purpose. Sometimes we must lose everything else before we realize that God is the only one to whom we can turn. If that’s what it takes for us to take hold of eternal life in Christ, then the horrors we have endured are not wasted.

That has been true in my life. From my childhood, I have been a bubbly, outgoing person. Though my demeanor may be disagreeable to the Eeyores among us, I consider it a gift from God. He has allowed me to remain a “glass half-full” kind of person. People who don’t know me would easily think that I have never known real pain and suffering. They would be wrong.

I was born, so I was told, to keep my parents together, but my father left when I was only a few weeks old, and I did not see him again after I was 2. My mother, my sister and I lived a vagabond lifestyle, uprooting sometimes two or three times a year with no warning and no discernible purpose. Men flitted in and out of our turnstile existence.

My sister and I were abandoned three times and left to live twice with strangers. The last time we were abandoned and left with an aunt and uncle, who were told they would raise us. My sister and I had a few happy months there experiencing real family life. But that ended when we were eventually reunited with our mother only to face years of abuse as the result of alcoholism and mental illness.

By the time my sister was 12, she had a police record from disorderly conduct and intoxication. By the time she was 15, she had been institutionalized twice. By the time she was 16, she had dropped out of school for the last time and was living on her own. By the time she was 18, she had attempted suicide multiple times. At 28, she succeeded. Six months to the day later, so did my mother.

So I was left. And I was left with a choice. I could wallow in self-pity that would surely mean my own self-destruction, or I could thank God that I was spared from those proclivities that claimed my family so that I could have the opportunity to break the chain and start afresh.

The glass is half-full.

Though I would never, ever wish upon any child the terrible things I endured, I can honestly say that God has used it all in my life. My experiences have given me insight, compassion and fortitude that I otherwise may lack. I am able to minister to others who are struggling (2 Corinthians 2: 3-4), including children. I have developed discernment – a God-given radar – that sounds when I am faced with troubling situations or troubled people.

But the best thing is that, having lacked any earthly teacher, I have been forced to sit at the Master’s feet and learn how to make sense of it all, how to relate to others, how to love and how to forgive. And I am proof that we are more than conquerors in Christ. If you are trusting Christ, so are you.

The glass is half-full and overflowing.

This is all background so we can set the stage for dealing with the day-to-day challenges and failures we all face. Sometimes we’ll laugh it off, and sometimes we’ll heave a heavy sigh together and just be ready to move on with our lives. But as we move on, let’s move up ever closer to the calling that we have in Christ Jesus. I’m ready. Are you?