The thief comes only to steal and destroy;
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd
lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:10-11

“The System Works” – December 16, 2021

A few moments ago, I was sitting in my study here at the church building, lost in thought, when a jarringly loud series of beeps pulled me back into reality. My slight motion had activated the burglar alarm. Once I gathered my wits, I jumped out of my chair and headed toward the alarm pad to quiet the noise by pushing in the right series of buttons and then wait for the call from the alarm company monitor who would proceed to ask me if everything was alright.

My apologetic colleague who had set the alarm without realizing I was still in the building was waiting for me by the door. “I’m sorry; I didn’t see your car,” he said. “That’s alright,” was my reply. “At least we know the system works.” And it did. Within a minute came the phone call asking for the password and checking to see if they should dispatch the police. How reassuring to know the system works.

Can one’s Christianity compare to this moment? I think so. We go about our ordinary business — we pray, we read the Bible and contemplate its teaching, we attend worship services, along with the regular stuff of eating and drinking and working and driving and living. Then something happens that is out of the ordinary: a crisis, a conflict, a transition, a threat. Life’s alarm goes off.

We respond according to prior preparation. As Christians, we have knowledge of how God works because we have spent time in the Word and with fellow believers; we don’t have to figure out how to pray because we’ve been praying (and we don’t have to come to God with some sheepish apology about how He only ever hears from us when we are in crisis). We know that God is aware of the ringing alarm and will dispatch the strength, wisdom, resources we need — just as that woman from United Alarm was there to respond to my request whether it had been a police matter, a need for firemen, or a cry for an ambulance, or all three!

The only thing that was needed to legitimize my relationship with the alarm company was the proper password. What’s the password? The Christian’s password is “Jesus Christ.” Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

I hope you are a Christian. I hope that you have acknowledged your need for forgiveness of your sins against God, that you have repented and placed your faith in Jesus’ substitutionary death on your behalf. And that the next time one of life’s alarms goes off, that you will be able to see that the system (that God set up for His people here on earth, before we get to heaven) — works!