In Disney’s movie Pinocchio, he struggles with the choices a real boy must make about right and wrong. His buddy, Jiminy Cricket, wants to help and urges Pinocchio to use a whistle as a signal to think about what he should do. Jiminy teaches Pinocchio this song:
“When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong, give a little whistle, give a little whistle. When you meet temptation and the urge is very strong, give a little whistle, give a little whistle.”
Signals are really useful to get our attention. They trigger our brains to act in a particular way or to expect certain things to happen or perhaps as a warning so we do not make a poor choice.
I use them in my classroom all the time. When I need my students to immediately focus on me for some directions, I ring a bell once. When the bell rings my children are to stop what they are doing and look at me. It is a wonderful tool when I quickly need to get their attention. When I need to get my students to move to our sharing circle, I play a particular song. Students soon learn they need to put away what they are doing and get to the circle before the song is over. Words become unnecessary as the signal does the work.
God uses signals for us as well. Consider this verse from the Old Testament:
“I will whistle for them and gather them in, for I have redeemed them, and they shall be as many as they were before.” (Zechariah 10:8 ESV)
For the Israelites enduring exile, knowing God would whistle for them, like a shepherd does with his sheep, is a comforting metaphor. This signal means that God is there and He is taking care of things. God gathers His people together and blesses them.
Do you hear God whistling for you today? He is still signalling us that He is there, ready and waiting to assist us in whatever comes our way. As a loving Father He wants His children to find shelter in His waiting arms.
While God does not expect us to immediately freeze and then take action like my students do, He does use signals to help us know when to change direction or to indicate His presence.
For example, this morning my daughter sang Laura Story’s song “Blessings” in church. It brings back a flood of memories of a time in my life when things were very hard. I was trying to build a new life on my own and care for my children and still stay sane at my place of employment. For many weeks when I was first delving into this new world, I heard Laura’s song Blessings play frequently.
At the time it definitely felt like God reaching out to me – whistling if you may – to let me know that I was not alone and that I would get through my trying circumstances. That daily encouragement spoke volumes to me and was one of many ways that I knew that God was walking with me in that difficult time.
Countless times in my life I know that God has been reaching out to me; letting me know that He will walk with me. He is there for whatever we are going through.
Listen – do you hear the whistle? It’s there – sometimes quietly like a gentle breeze and other times vehemently like a huge thunderstorm. Always, always, our loving Heavenly Father is behind that signal that says – you are loved, you are precious, and you are Mine.