Today as I was coming down the hill into town, I almost ran into the side of a car turning left. I stopped to ask the lady who was driving the other car why she turned directly in front of me. Her response led me to this subject. She said she thought I had a stop sign so she immediately turned, assuming I would be stopping and not continue down the hill.
From her vantage point she saw the back side of a railroad crossing sign and thought it was a stop sign. From the placement of the sign at the corner of the street where she was turning left, she easily mistook the railroad crossing sign for a stop sign. Although the two signs do not look alike, in a spur of the moment, instant decision, I can see how she made the mistake of assuming it was a stop sign. That being said she did ignore the other rules of safe driving by not making sure the approaching vehicle actually stopped before attempting to turn in front of it. Had she waited patiently, she would have seen my vehicle was not going to stop and the near miss we had would have been avoided altogether.
I was thankful that my van did not have anti-lock brakes, for if it had, I doubt I would have been able to stop quickly enough to avoid hitting the rear of the turning car. As it turned out I missed hitting her completely.
It really was interesting that the sign this lady mistook for a stop sign was actually a railroad crossing sign, indicating a railroad crossing where you better STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN for an oncoming train. If you get hit by a train it is not likely you will escape serious injury. You may even face death.
How many actually take the time to stop, look, and listen? I mean today with the red flashing lights at most railroad crossings, we cross the tracks without hardly a look to one side let alone both sides. Remember when we were young and our mothers would tell us to look both ways before crossing the street? Do you still do that today with those crossing lights flashing on the city street corners? Have we taken the signs for granted? Are we too much in a hurry to actually take time to stop, look, and listen?
How many times have we made snap decisions that have come back to cause us harm? How many times can you recall mistaking a sign to mean one thing when in reality it meant something entirely different? Have you, like me, ever had one of those times when you totally misunderstood something someone was trying to say?
It is not hard to misinterpret signs, and intent of others when we are not fully cognizant of our surroundings. We see but we do not comprehend, we hear but do not fully listen to the intent and meaning behind what we hear and we are too busy or too stressed to relax enough to respond with other than a knee-jerk reaction. We do not take the time to fully listen before we respond.
James tells us that everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak and should not get angry easily. In other words take the time to stop, look and listen before making a move. Before entering into traffic take the time to assess the situation properly. Do not be in a such a hurry (getting angry, showing impatience) to get through the intersections of life, that you misread the signs and get broadsided in the process.
By taking time to properly read the signs, to fully listen to what is going on, to totally see the big picture usually makes for safer passage along the highways of life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)
Apparently God too has a hard time getting His message across. In the book of Revelation as John is receiving his vision from God the Holy Spirit repeats the same message over and over again. These words can be found seven times in the second and third chapters of Revelation: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. This is a warning that something important is going to be said, so pay attention. STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN to what the Lord is saying to the church.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Matthew 13:13 (ESV)
In our hurry up world I feel we have failed to wait patiently for the Lord to speak, in order for Him to guide us in the way in which we are supposed to go. We have not heeded the voice of God and many have had wrecks along the highway of life, and others have had near misses.
Taking time to hear from God gives us the strength we need to carry on. Not taking time to get the full intent of what God is telling us can cause us much harm.
The disciples walked close with Jesus yet they needed times when Jesus sat them down to open up the scriptures to them so they could understand what he was saying. All those parables had meaning beyond the obvious. The disciples had to stop and listen as Jesus showed them what the true meaning of His words were. They were not just good stories but words that would change lives.
My favorite verse which you see reprinted at the end of each article explains it so well. Those who take the time to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN (wait upon the Lord) will get new strength and direction which will give them the ability to soar on eagle wings. Without a clear understanding of what the Lord would require, we are reduced to scratching in the dirt like chickens, or worse yet, we become extinct like the Dodo bird. Stopping, looking, and listening is not a waste of our time because in the end it becomes lifesaving.