Sitting at an outdoor cafe in my neighborhood in Istanbul, I drank sparkling water and finished my online Turkish lesson, as a large, white street dog lay near my feet.
I perused Facebook and saw a live feed of a church service from a Church of God congregation I knew in the U.S.
In one song, the congregation sang the refrain, “Something more than my yesterdays, more than I had before…He gave me something worth living for!”
It had been so many years since I’d heard or thought of the song that I remembered the refrain incorrectly. I misunderstood it as asking God for something worth living for, not a song of praise for having already given it.
Hearing it as a request, the song spoke to me even more.
A few minutes later, they sang a song that dates back nearly 100 years, and one that I’d sung many times as a child and young adult. “No matter what happens he will care for me,” goes the refrain. I sang along quietly. My internet connection was poor, and the live feed paused more than it played. Once, it stopped just as the song leader stretched out his hand to get the congregation to hold the last word in the phrase, “And his mighty hand will enable me stand.”
What I heard was enough to remember. It was enough to be re-calibrated back to a better alignment with God, and myself, even if for a moment.
You see, in life, it’s easy to get off track. It’s easy to focus more on the here and now. It’s easy to forget what really matters most. In these circumstances, we need to be intentional about seeking out what speaks to us. We need, what I call, ‘re-calibrating experiences’ – moments when we are reminded of God (or, if you are not a person of faith, whatever is most meaningful to you).
For me, they can occur when reading Scripture, or when listening to a YouTube video.
Yet, it seems they don’t happen often enough.
Re-calibrating experiences are important. They remind me of who I was, who I am, and who I ought to be. They remind me to keep God first.
Yet, while powerful, they can still be fleeting, given that the world is here in front of us, and the future may not always feel bright. Temptations, worries, and other priorities sway us off track from what we’ve experienced in the past that gives us joy and peace.
Sometimes, the most important aspects of life are the easiest to forget. The Old Testament is full of times when the Israelites were instructed to remember what God had done for them. They sometimes even built an altar to be physically reminded of God’s faithfulness.
Similarly, re-calibrating experiences serve as important reminders today.
Whatever you may need to be re-calibrated to, I hope this week that you will seek out something that will speak to you. Maybe it will re-light a spark that will remind you of what is most important in your life.