From the 14th floor of my hotel, electronic trumpets sounded from beneath the hoods of modern day, four-wheeled iron chariots. The noise echoed for blocks. I was in town to cover the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would be struggling to get some shut-eye among this normally tranquil crowd.
Had Baptists taken to the streets in protest? Why all the excitement? Was there an emergency? Had there been an invasion? Was the building on fire? Why would hundreds of otherwise civil people be pounding their automobile horns at 11 p.m.?
To make matters worse, police were called in to direct and organize the chaos. The black and whites turned on their warning lights, resulting in a “laser light show.” The town was lit up, and I was in the middle of the action. It must have been similar to what the citizens of Jericho experienced as Joshua surrounded them and blew his horn. It was an alarming experience.
As I lay there wide-eyed in my “heavenly” bed-the hotel’s term, not mine-I realized a good night’s sleep was not in the making. I have to admit the bed was incredible, and had a way of making a good night’s sleep even better, which made leaping from bed even harder every morning.
I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to see what all the excitement was about. From the window, I noticed a mother duck and her ducklings were crossing the road and were the source of the congestion. I’m kidding! Now, that would have been crazy. But upon further investigation, it became clear this city was in all-out celebration following the San Antonio Spurs’ second win in the NBA finals.
Despite my greatest wishes and deep negotiation with my reflection in the hotel window, this party was not going to end anytime soon. I returned to bed staring into the darkness. I waited. And then I waited some more. They honked. And they honked some more. I waited. They honked. The rampage continued for nearly two more hours. These fanatics were serious about expressing their excitement.
I couldn’t help but wonder how approximately 9,000 messengers attending the annual SBC meeting were feeling about this experience as the city of San Antonio was roaring with jubilation.
Would we leave the annual meeting as excited about our experiences having heard what God had done through Southern Baptists the previous year? Certainly, there was much to be excited about. The cooperation and teamwork of our churches had resulted in the largest missionary sending organization in the world. Hearing the number of souls who had been reached was inspiring. Perhaps this is what the Bible means when it speaks of the heavenly celebration that takes place when a soul is won to the Lord.
This change of perspective brought a smile to my face as I imagined the noise from below was in recognition for what God had done. My bed once again became heavenly, and my mind drifted off to sleep.