Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

July 2021 Issue

Spiritual Attention Getters

From the Current Issue

“Well, That Just Happened!” When God Gets Our Attention

“Well, That Just Happened!” When God Gets Our Attention

When something unusual suddenly grabs our attention, we’re speechless for a moment, and then we might say, “Well, that just happened!” The attention getter might be as welcome as a surprising new job opportunity or as unwelcome as a serious health diagnosis. But with those blessings or challenges, they also offer the opportunity to gain new insights into God’s miraculous work in our lives, creating a revitalized focus, and seizing our attention.

Sometimes it takes a sudden, unexpected twist to make us focus. We’re so busy that our days are little more than distracted, disjointed agendas. Admit it. Most of us are overscheduled with obligations and overloaded with texts, emails, news, podcasts, advertising, and interruptions. The chattering of the world around us is a constant buzz in our ears, like tinnitus. Our fathers’ generation talked about being workaholics; our generation talks about suffering from “chaos addiction.”

The chattering of the world around us is a constant buzz in our ears, like tinnitus.

How, then, is God to get our attention amid the clamor?

It’s amazing how the Lord worked in the Bible to arouse His people, especially when they were going the wrong way. He pulled out all the stops to arrest their attention when they became distracted, lethargic, or rebellious, or when He just wanted to spend time with them or commission them for a new assignment.

If He did so then, why wouldn’t He do the same now?

Pause a moment and consider how proactively God wrought biblical attention getters that made His people stop and notice. He startled some people with the appearance of angelic beings. He bewildered others with unexpected miracles. He sent storms, famines, and fire from heaven. He made donkeys talk and winds cease. He raised up eccentric prophets, charismatic kings, and peculiar preachers.

He ambushed Jacob with a wrestling stranger (Genesis 32:24). He startled Moses with a burning bush (Exodus 3:3). I imagine the children of Israel looked at the parted waters of the Red Sea crashing down on the Egyptians and thinking (in Hebrew): “Well, that just happened!”

What does it take to get your attention?

In Numbers, God sent a temporary plague of leprosy on Moses’ sister, Miriam, and that got her attention (Numbers 12:10). In Samuel’s day, He sent thunder and rain at harvest to startle the people into humble submission (1 Samuel 12:18). The Lord got David’s attention with a convicting story from the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-4). In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah suddenly saw the Lord sitting on His throne, high and lifted up. Isaiah never got over the moment (Isaiah 6:1).

In Isaiah 38:1, King Hezekiah’s attention suddenly refocused on the Lord at the onset of a terminal diagnosis. The Lord got Jonah’s attention with a storm, Nebuchadnezzar’s attention with the fourth man in the furnace, Peter’s attention with a rooster, and Paul’s attention with a bright light on the Damascus Road.

The jailer of Philippi was awakened at midnight by an earthquake (Acts 16:25), and the apostle John was startled by a series of revelations on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9-10).

Oh, the many ways God worked in the Bible to break through the stubbornness or distractions of His people so they could see Him afresh! He used defeats, disasters, diseases, blessings, angels, animals, visions, dreams, and phenomena in nature. He sent prophets, preachers, priests, and kings. On one occasion, He even caused the sun to stand still in the heavens (Joshua 10:13). On another, He simply spoke in a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12).

So…can you think of similar times in your own life when something happened that suddenly refocused your mind on the Lord? What does it take to get your attention? 

A passage of Scripture that suddenly comes alive to you? A sermon? A book that falls into your hands just when you need it? The admonition of a friend? A streak of bad news? A visit to the doctor? A breathtaking sky at sunset?

Our goal in this edition of Turning Points is to learn how God breaks through our stubbornness, weakness, and awareness to reach us and to teach us.

Proverbs 4:20 says, “My son, give attention to my words.” Hebrews 2:1 says, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away” (NIV).

What does God need to do to get our attention? That’s an interesting topic, and we’ll explore it in the pages ahead as we learn how God used supernatural attention getters in the Bible—and how He still speaks to us today.

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