August 9, 2015

The Midnight Wake-Up Call at ASI

, coordinator, General Conference’s United in Prayer initiative

ASI conventions always serve as a wake-up call to me about my need to keep focused on eternal priorities and help prepare others for the Kingdom.

But the stirring testimonies shared on Friday evening at the Aug. 5-8 ASI Convention in Spokane, Washington, were not the only wake-up call that I received that night.

At 12:15 a.m., we had the privilege of a live wake-up call in the form of a fire alarm at the Davenport Grand Hotel where I and many other ASI attendees happen to be staying.

“Your attention please. The fire alarms are going off in the building, and we need you to evacuate immediately. Please do not use the elevators. Take the stairs!” called a voice over the loudspeaker system.A fire truck responding to the alarm at the Davenport Grand Hotel in Spokane, Washington, early Sabbath, Aug. 8, 2015. (Melody Mason)

Lights flashed inside the hotel, and fire trucks began pulling up outside.

My roommates and I had been sleeping for almost an hour at this point, and it took a few minutes to wipe the sleep out of our eyes and to fully awaken to what was happening.

Opening the hotel room door, I looked down the hallway. People in pajamas and flip-flops were hurrying quickly toward the stairs.

“Well, I guess we better go, too,” I told my roommates.

So we quickly put on our clothes and grabbed a few things. I didn’t know if the alarm was real or not, but I for one was not going to leave the building without my essential possessions. These I grabbed quickly and then I followed my roommates toward the stairs.

When we got down over a dozen flights of stairs, we poured out onto the street with many others. Seventh-day Adventist Church leader Ted N.C. Wilson and his wife, Nancy, stood just ahead of us, fully dressed and each holding tightly to a small personal bag.

“You’re just like me,” I told them, jokingly. “You want to make sure that if this is a real alarm, you take your essentials with you!”

“That’s right!” Elder Wilson said, smiling.A firefighter rushing into the hotel. (Melody Mason)

Thankfully, within a few minutes we were notified that it was a false alarm and could return to our rooms.

However, it took me a long time to go back to sleep as I thought about the spiritual application to what had just occurred.

You see, we arrived at the hotel with a lot of luggage filled with things that we thought were necessary to our lives. However, when the alarm went off and we were forced to leave the building, our priorities became very apparent. Personally, I was not leaving without my precious Bible or my computer (which has all my ministry files and brain on it). So that’s what I grabbed, just in case the alarm was real.

Although it ended up just being a false alarm, God reminded me that there is a real fire alarm going off in this world. It’s not a drill, and it’s time to get ready to leave.

“Wake up, brethren; for your own soul’s sake, wake up. Without the grace of Christ you can do nothing. Work while you can,” Ellen G. White says in an article republished in the book Christian Service, p. 80.

We’ve been distracted by many things. We’ve carried around many things that we think are necessary to live. But now it’s time to focus on priorities. There are only two things we can take out of this life. One is our character and relationship with Jesus (represented by my Bible). The other is those won to the kingdom (represented by all my ministry files on my computer).

"Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God, and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. … God calls for a revival and a reformation,” White says in Prophets and Kings, p. 626.

Although it took me a long time to fall back asleep, I’m so thankful for the reminder of what is truly important. We need more fire alarms to wake us up.

Melody Mason serves as coordinator of the General Conference’s United in Prayer initiative, which began at the General Conference session in San Antonio, Texas, in July 2015. She also coordinated the world church’s 100 Days of Prayer initiative earlier this year and authored “Daring to Ask for More: Divine Keys to Answered Prayer” (Pacific Press, 2014).