At church on Sunday, our pastor talked about radios; about tuning in to God, hearing His signal, and how sometimes it can be drowned by the noise/the static of life. I want to tell you about a time God challenged me to get some of the ‘Static’ out of my life.
It was 2005 and I had gone on holiday with my parents. We were going to spend half the week doing things together, and they would spend the other half doing more of their coastal path walking while I relaxed in the cottage with some books and my laptop. It was the most wonderful cottage I’ve ever stayed in. The bedrooms had doors leading to the patio, and just over the wall was the coastal path, and then the sea. Hearing the power of those waves really gave me a sense of the awesomeness of God.
On Sunday, they set off in the car and I was left to do church as best you can on your own. I sang along with some CDs and then took one of the books I’d brought out onto the patio. I hardly remember anything about the book, except that it quoted some verses from the Bible I’d never noticed before – 1 John 2:15-17: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” … As I read, God pinpointed something and I just knew: I loved Formula One too much. I had wondered whether I was getting too obsessed with it, but had pushed this thought away and never done anything about it, but that day I knew I had to. So when the Grand Prix came on at lunchtime, I wasn’t watching, and I didn’t watch for quite a few years after that.
God is a God of joy, but when something gets in the way of your relationship with Him, it needs dealing with. The Bible clearly says the fruit of the Holy Spirit is patience. I was fairly patient … but if I was getting a lift home from church and they were chattering and the Grand Prix was starting, that patience would go out the window. Inside, in the heart where it matters, I would be wanting to get in front of the TV – now. I even enjoyed watching the races more than being at church, and when you can put a race that lasts 2 hours maximum above that special time in the week of focusing on God, there’s something wrong.
It was a struggle at first to be at home and keep the TV off, but it really did me good. I remember once having an idea for a song, sitting down with my Bible and writing it. I don’t have a TV anymore, but I do have the radio, and in about 2011 I started listening again to the races. You can be sure I prayed hard before doing this. I heard of a pastor called David Wilkerson who gave up television. When after a while he went back to it, he felt God say he wouldn’t experience the fullness of what God wanted to give him if he had a TV. It was obviously still a no-go area for him, but I didn’t feel God say that to me about Formula One. I really enjoyed the Australian Grand Prix last weekend. The first race of the season is always a bit special, but I don’t feel compelled to hear every interview and not miss a moment. I like that I can enjoy it and yet it’s in perspective, but I really want it to stay that way.
So here’s a challenge: Not so much for the readers of this blog who don’t know me, but more for family and friends. If you see Formula One, or anything, becoming ‘Static’ (getting between me and my God), please tell me. Because He means a lot to me, and when I’m encouraged to draw aside and be with God, I want to be free to drop everything and do that.