The Warning Roar
Written by Tim Patrick
Recently I had car trouble. The wheel bearings on the front of my car went bad. For weeks before this failure, the car gave a “warning roar.” I thought the sound was coming from a bad tire or poor wheel alignment. However, a mechanic explained the roar was coming from worn wheel bearings. He explained that it was just a matter of time before I found myself on the side of the highway in a broken down car.
This was an occasion when I was pleased with a “warning roar.” The roar saved my wife or yours truly from an unexpected break down. In life, we sometimes experience warning roars. In keeping with this automobile illustration we should heed the warning roars. The following are several roars.
The roar of physical symptoms- Our bodies sometimes scream when we push them too far too fast. Symptoms could include, but are not limited to: shortness of breath, change in weight, lack of energy, dizziness, sleeplessness, digestive issues, and so forth.
I remember an occasion when I experienced chest pains. I assumed the pain was due to a heart condition. After visiting a cardiologist I was given assurance my heart was okay but was warned about another condition. The cardiologist told me my condition was stress related. I was pastoring a church, working on a doctorate, being a father to two elementary age boys, and seeking to be a worthy husband. Stress! Go figure.
The roar of relational issues- Such issues could be in marriage, family, work, acquaintances, or with neighbors. Relational issues result in chilly relationships, poor communication, conflict, resentment, and similar issues. Issues begin with a simple noise but often grow to a warning roar. Obviously such warnings should be heeded.
The roar of emotional symptoms- Symptoms could include, but are not limited to: lethargy, feelings of discouragement or depression, spending excessive time on unproductive activities such as television, sleeping too much, wishing you could run away, and participating in harmful habits.
Emotional symptoms can strike anyone. Professionals tell us that doctors, nurses, teachers, pastors, and those serving in helping professions are candidates for burnout. This is a debilitating emotional condition. Those suffering with burnout will face depression, lethargy, a desire to pull away, and other symptoms. Burnout is one example of an emotional struggle.
The roar of spiritual emptiness- In I Kings 19 we find a perplexing story of Elijah, a man of God. Elijah had followed a strenuous schedule for a period of months (see I Kings 17-18) During that period of life he became spiritually dry. In I Kings 19:1-4 we discover that he was overcome by fear, paranoia, depression, and was discouraged by life. In short, he was empty.
Life’s warning roar affects us in several ways. We are multi-dimensional creatures. Our lives consist of mental, emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual dimensions. When one dimension gets out of balance it affects all aspects of our lives.
Elijah discovered that God cared about his imbalance. God gave him rest, refreshment, and renewal.
The Psalmist once said, “In my distress I cried to the Lord, And He heard me.” (Ps. 120:1) The writer of this Psalm was distressed. The roar got his attention and he cried out to God. He, like Elijah, felt God’s comforting presence.
My prayer is that all of us will heed the warning roar before a breakdown occurs. God may be allowing a period of grace to address a real need. As you face the days ahead, are there areas in your personal life that need a checkup (health, marriage, emotional dryness, discouragement, etc.)?