My wife and I occasionally stay in hotels when we travel. It's not unusual for us to arrange for the hotel to give us what is called "A wake-up call" — that is a call to make sure we are awake and ready to start our day on time.

In the USA we also use the term "Walk up Call" to describe life-changing or challenging events. The problem is that sometimes we want to turn over, cover up our heads and go back to sleep and forget the "wake-up call"!

Notice what happened in this "wake-up call"!

It happened in 1883 in New England, the Sun didn't rise! The people awoke to an eerie darkness. They went outside to do their chores in stony silence. No rooster crowed, no birds chirping, none of the usual sounds of a new day. At the very start, people began to gather in small groups to question what was happening, to wonder and discuss what was taking place. Slowly, people began to make their way to the Churches. They say that by twelve noon every Church in New England was filled to overflowing with people on their knees crying out to God. There were cries for mercy, people begging for forgiveness and others confessing their sins. They say that there were few people who didn't pray the day the sun didn't rise. The Churches were full late into the night.

As the next morning neared, great crowds began to gather on the hilltops and the high places near their homes and churches. People were staring toward the eastern horizon. Every eye was fixed on that point where the sky touched the land. Every eye watching, hoping to catch a glimmer of the first rays of the Sun. As the sun began to come up over the horizon, people began to shout and yell praise to God; they clapped, danced, and rejoiced because the Sun shined on the land again. As if in one voice, they began to praise the Lord for the sunlight, the warmth, and the joy of God's new day.

This is understandable. So here is the rest of the story:

These people had no idea that on the Island nation of Indonesia, the sleeping giant of a volcano, Krakatoa, had come to life. They had no idea that this great mountain exploded and sent a huge cloud of dust and ash into the upper atmosphere. This black cloud would be carried around the world by the jet stream. It was said to cover whole regions, covering the sky from horizon to horizon. Few people had any idea that a volcano halfway around the world could create such a cloud that could block out the Sun. Yet for most of those people that was the very first time they ever thanked God for the warmth and wonder of the Sun.*

But people are people, and like most of us, they soon forgot. They forgot the day they thought Jesus was coming back. They forgot the prayers, pleading, and repentance. They forgot the thanksgiving they had offered to God. They went back to their old lifestyles, their old habits and forgot all of the promises they had made to God.

Another "wake-up call" happened for many of us on September 11, 2001! A great disaster took place in New York. Terrorists killed thousands of people from all different races and nations. People began to realize just how quickly life could end and to think about how important God should be in their lives. Some repented of their sinful ways. Some made promises to do better and to serve God. We became a people who were thankful for each new day, and for each time we got to see our friends, family, wives, husbands, and children. We became more aware of God's blessings on us. We were more thankful to God for our lives than perhaps we had been for a long time. Why? Because we had no idea that one man with an insane dream could hurt us or our nation, our people, our friends and our families so much. But then the clouds of smoke cleared, and we began to feel secure once again, and we began to forget.

How many wake-up calls do we get?

What "wake-up call" have you received in your life? Did you really "wake-up," or soon forget your prayers and promises?

We must not forget the lessons learned!
You may not get another call to wake up!

Let me leave you with three verses to ponder:

Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11 NLT).

Wake up from your drunken stupor ... and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame (1 Corinthians 15:34 ESV).

For the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead and Christ will give you light! (Ephesians 5:14 NLT)

May we listen to our "wake-up call" and not forget the lessons learned!

* The original author of this report is not known, but the story is widely known.