Gilland: A shocking way to learn an easy lesson

Shocked baby
Shocked baby
Tommaso Lizzul via Shutterstock

We’ve all done it before, right? Pushed our luck just that one step too far. Yep. I did such a thing some time back.

Truth be told, I thought it had been about a year ago that I changed those pesky 9V batteries in our smoke alarms. But I didn’t date the batteries, nor did I record the change in my calendar. Those are the easy lessons that I already…well, I “kinda” learned them, or at least should have learned them by now.

But, I didn’t, and I am hoping that this article will help someone out there to avoid our fate. You see, I was good and asleep when, slightly after 2 a.m., Cindy and I were awakened by that soul-stirring sound of our complete house smoke alarm system going off. That noise is so troubling, and so…LOUD, that I’m pretty sure it would come close to making a corpse take a jump and take a fresh breath.

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Cindy and I were up, lickity split—and just like that, the alarm stopped. We paused a moment, hoping that it was a one-time event, and then we went back to bed. Ten minutes later, the alarms rang out again, starting what would be a 90-minute routine that ended with me giving up hope on finding fresh batteries in our house and making that dreaded 4 a.m. trip to Walmart to buy fresh batteries.

I can honestly say I knew better. It is insanity, after all, to think that those batteries are going to last forever! And, how much easier it would have been to change them at, say 4 p.m., on any given day!

Isn’t that how we tend to treat life? It is so easy to just go through the motions, acting like we don’t have to be prepared for those inevitable maintenance issues. Sadly, many of us gamble going into eternity with that same mindset.

I had breakfast once with a self-described atheist, who was convinced that if he got to eternity and found himself face-to-face with a living God, he would have no problem serving as his own defense attorney—and convincing God that he deserved to be in Heaven!

Yeah, that won’t fly. Not anymore than my thinking that those batteries would surely last and last, into the far distant future.

The parable of the 10 virgins should be all the scriptural encouragement we need for us to be vigilant and prepared with a plan of action (see Matthew 25). But so often, we’re just like the five virgins who had to go out and get oil for their lamps.

Funny, I had lamp oil in my house. Just no batteries. Lesson learned. I hope.

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