Earlier this year, the bomb squad blew up an unattended Vauxhall Corsa outside Workington police station. Following the controlled explosion, Cumbria Police apologised to the owner, who had earlier been taken ill.
As a result of the man’s illness – and presumably his inability to drive – officers on duty had parked the car outside the police station. Other officers had not been told about the car, and regarded its presence as suspicious. So they called in the bomb squad!
Inspector Ashley Bennett said, “The officers who dealt with this morning’s incident did so with public safety in mind and followed the appropriate procedures in respect to an unoccupied, suspicious vehicle.” The force blamed “an internal communications error.”
Communication is important. Communication problems sometimes occur when we don’t focus properly on the person who’s trying to communicate with us. (Ever tried having a serious conversation with someone who’s trying to check Facebook?) It’s the same with prayer. It is possible to pray while driving or cooking or showering, and better then than not at all, but to really communicate with your Creator, you need to take time out, to be still, shutting out the rest of the world and focussing solely on Him.
Jesus once visited the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. When He arrived He sat down to speak to all those who had gathered, including Martha’s sister Mary, who sat at His feet. She was more interested in hearing what Jesus had to say than in helping her sister, who was busy serving everyone. Martha was upset with her “lazy” sister, but Jesus, who normally commends those who are servant-hearted, said to Martha, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NLT). Mary had chosen to focus on Jesus. Martha’s serving was important, but not as important as listening to what Jesus had to say.
The world around us focusses on ‘self’: our feelings, our possessions, our rights etc, and encourages us to look within ourselves to find the answers to our needs. Yet the Hebrew scriptures remind us that,
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIVUK)
Growing spiritually is far more valuable than anything that we allow to get in the way of our relationship with God. So how important it is to find a quiet space, where we can rest quietly and focus on the Life-Giver, our Creator and Friend. Let His peace enfold you as you welcome Him into your inner being. Listen for His voice, and as you follow His prompting, turning from ‘self’ and allowing Him to lead you, He will fill you with His abundant life.